|Lots of Land Cruisers, and a Nissan|
|Very cold at the lagoon|
We drove on through the Anawanapampa desert and Mario noticed one of the back tires had a small leak so we stopped on the road (dirt track) and he changed the tire (our second flat tire in 3 months, not bad considering all the miles we have covered!) we drove on and stopped in an abandoned town which the locals call a 'Ghost Town' it is where an army of Spanish lived after the invasion when they made the Inca's work the mines, at times not letting the Inca's out of the actual mine caves for months at a time, and they had to keep everything in there with them including the livestock! After a stop at our highest point of 4,855m we stayed overnight in San Antonio de Lipez at 4,200m in a hostel (no showers), all the acommodation on this tour is very basic and all 4 of us are in one room, with Isabella and Mario in another (even more basic than ours), there are toilets but as we said, no showers, not until the 3rd night when you can pay 10 Boliviano for a shower, well this is the desert and water is precious (and 10 Boliviano is less than a Pound!). Mario repaired the hole in the tire with the help of our torches - and removed the tire from the wheel by driving the jeep over the wheel and freeing the tube from inside, luckily Mario is a mechanic.
Day 2 began with an early start. Breakfast and we headed to the Lagoons, along the road we had to drive through several frozen streams which was quite amazing to see in the desert, it does get very cold in the desert at night. The first lagoon was our first glimpse of Flamingos, they were just eating around the edges of the lagoon, some of it was still frozen and they were sliding along the surface. A little longer along the road we stopped at a lagoon we thought was covered in salt, this was in fact borax, which is used in the manufacture of ceramics.
|Ah no, she's stuck|
We then headed off to the next lagoon where we saw a fox, it seemed quite used to people, tourists probably feed it. Here we saw many more Flamingos, these were curiously more tame than the ones at the other lagoons. We were able to get within 2 meters of them and take some shots, it was extremely windy here and we had to really work hard to walk against the wind.
We stopped along the road to view the two volcanos Licancabur and Zaparelli before stopping in a town for Mario to have a break after hours of driving in the desert, he told us that this section is very tiring for the drivers and they are not sure why this particular section is so bad.
That night we had nice hot showers at the hotel which was made of salt. The floor was rock salt (you have to wear shoes or it is very uncomfortable) and the walls are all salt, even the pillars for the beds are salt.
|one of the 'Crazy photos'|
This is where we said goodbye to Mario, Isabella, Sue and Tom and we organised our 2 day transfer across the border to San Pedro de Atacama while they all headed back to Tupiza.
It really was a brilliant trip, and having Sue and Tom with us was great - and not just because Sue can speak fluent Spanish and helped us out with the bits we could not understand.