Friday, 1 January 2010
Thursday 31st December
Having provisioned, we headed out into the desert in search of FLAMINGOS (not quite as exciting as penguins but they are in short supply here). Stopped at a laguna on the salt plain (Salar de Atacarma) and there they were both Chilean & Andean! Together with Andean avocets (one for the twitchers!), horned Andean Coots, desert fox and brine shrimp (someone has to be bottom of the food chain!). Flamingos were amazing especially when they fly; their necks and legs stretched right out and the pink undersides of their wings showing.
Further into the Salar we stopped at two high altitude (4500M) lakes and on the way back managed to get the truck buried axle deep in the dirt. Whoops.... flagged down the next car, the driver checked we did not have low ratio gear box/locked diff and then shrugged and turned away. Believe it or not if we had two gear sticks we would have tried both! Next flagging proved more successful, 4x4 with rope...clouds of dust later and we were out! Won't share that experience with the hire car company. On the way back saw 15th Century Inca terraces, shocking how much more arid the desert is now, given that the terraces used to be irrigated to produce crops.
Headed home for a nice meal and celebratory drink.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!