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November 05, 2004

Another Northern Chile Update

I forgot to mention that from San Pedro de Atacama, the first town I visited in Chile, I went to the Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon). The trip also included stops to see the Cordillera de la Sal, a mountain range; and Valle de la Muerte (originally called Valle de la Marte because of its similarity to the landscape of Mars). The landscape in all of these places is dry and desolate with amazing rock formations, beautiful sand dunes, and very little flora and fauna. The standard activity that everyone goes to the Valle de la Luna for is to climb an enormous sand dune and watch the sun set over the valley. Walking across the dune was my favorite part. I don't think I've ever been anywhere else with such huge dunes, and it was beautiful to walk across the dune's ridge and see all the fantastic rock landscapes in every direction.

When we reached the lookout spot, I was looking for a place to sit when I heard someone call my name--it was Steve and Carolyn, from my Inca Trail group! While it seems utterly bizarre to run into someone on top of a sand dune on the Valle de la Luna, I suppose it's not really all that strange, since so many people I've met are all headed south. I probably know 10 to 15 people who are all traveling on more or less the same route through Chile at this point, just on slightly different schedules, so it's quite possible that this won't be the last time I hear someone calling my name on the top of a mountain! That night, I had dinner with Carolyn and Steve, and also with Jan and Pete from my Salar tour. It was fun to bring them all together to trade travel plans and stories.

Not much to report on the 15 or so hours I spent in Antofagasta. I had a hotel room with cable TV and my own bathroom, so I took advantage of both with a long shower and some primping, and a takeout dinner in front of the TV with Friends and The Office. It was also the first place I saw a McDonald's since I left the US!

Posted by Amy on November 5, 2004 05:43 PM
Category: Chile
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