After the expansive beauty and freezing temperatures of Salar de Uyuni, the drive down the plateau to warmer temperatures was both a blessing and a curse. We had seen so many otherworldly land forms and weirdly colored waters and wild life that the the slightly hippy outpost was welcome. The first thing we did was buy a box of wine and get food for our hostel: classic, veggie spaghetti, then take a much deserved shower to rinse off the salt.
Our first day we planned a tour to check out the much talked about geysers and woke up early to take advantage of the quickly changing desert temperatures, from freezing cold night to hot daytime sun. These geysers were a bit smaller than the Salar de Uyuni geysers, but still had plenty of jets of water and steam. The best part being was that these geysers would actually shoot up small columns of water that would immediately start steaming, so each and every little drop had its own comet tail.
Having checked out the geysers we strolled through town, and relaxed the rest of the day. Upon waking up the next day we lazed about the hostel before going on a walk about to find what sites there were to see. We quickly came across a poster for a concert! We were so excited. We bought tickets and spent the whole day preparing for and waiting for the festivities. We met up with our friend Jo (Lyndal had food poisoning) to have a few drinks around 15:00, then went back to our place for reasons unknown at this point to finish getting ready. We eventually arrived at the festival at 19:00 and what a sight it was. It had a ferries wheel, carnival games, and food stalls, but oddly no music. After asking around we found out that the music portion didn’t even open till 02:00. We were more than a bit early and in the middle of a family carnival, not an electronic concert. So we popped over the tent that was selling extra-large beers to help burn the next seven hours. Here we met some interesting locals that had obviously been camped out with their beers for an extended period of time. Since only Emily spoke Spanish we had long conversations in which neither person had any idea what the other person was saying.
After a couple of hours we decided to head back to Jo’s hostel for her hostel owners birthday! And what better way to celebrate your thirty second birthday than with a huge game of beer pong, the guests at your hostel, and your family members. We had teams of 6, Emily, Jo, myself, and three other hostel residents vs. the owner, his brother, mother, cousin, sister in law and one I can’t remember. It was an especially long game with barely a cup made in 15 minutes from either team, but as everyone got warmed up, the game grew intense! Towards the end as the owner saw his chances at a birthday win slipping away he began to make up random rules, not just a couple, but rule after rule. We were not to be denied though, and finally sinched the win!
We left the hostel in what we thought was just in time for the concert to start and walked out into the pitch black, across the desert to the random plot of land with a mini carnival (with one more concert goer from the hostel). Upon reaching the music tent we realized that we were still too early in our midnight arrival, so back to the beer tent! Fast forward a couple of beers and we go back to the music tent. The four of us walk into a deserted tent with just a DJ on the stage and not a single other person. We thought this was one of the best situations we could have come across and started to use the whole dance floor. There was running airplane dancing, whirling and twirling, wook walking, and in general uninhibited dancing in full swing. The kind of dancing that can almost never be done since most spaces lack the correct volume of music or space. We took full advantage of this space for the next hour until others began to arrive. After which we all danced with as many people as we could, Emily even got into a dance off contest with two guys for 15 to 20 minutes. The best part was the music played, house music, isn’t even a type of music any of us listen to so the experience was new for everyone. It was quite possibly one of the most interesting little concerts Emily and I have been to.
After nursing some hangovers we decided to see the sunset in style …. or along a locally known foot path with a little bridge over a ditch and a good view.
On our last day in San Pedro de Atacama we went to check out the coolest site it had to offer: Valle de la Luna. Each year flood rains come to the desert and as the water pours down, salt and sedimentary rocks are dissolved and eroded to form fascinating caves and tunnels. Beyond Valle de la Luna we were able to look across the desert and see just how varied the landscape is.