Going to Bolivia

Right now I am in San Pedro de Atacama. It’s a little, old west looking town of 5000 near the Bolivian border, 7900 ft in elevation. They have a nicer soccer field than this here, but if I was playing, the dirt field overlooking the volcano would be more my style.

The plan tomorrow, Monday, is to do a three-day 4×4 trip into Bolivia. This goes through geysers, hotsprings, over some 15,000 ft peaks, and through the salt flats of Uyuni which sounds great. Great for everything except for streaming game #3 of the Canucks/Bruins online…

The route lately has been 1190 Km from Valparaiso to San Pedro with a few days stopped off in between in La Serena. There was a foosball table at the hostel there which is what I was expecting everywhere in South America but have not been seeing much of. Well maybe for the best because I lost most of my games…. Anyway, below, the salt flats show up as white on the satellite image.

I went to the observatory nearby. Chile has the biggest observatory in the world – the Very Large Telescope. I did not go there. I went to a smaller one nearby. It was an observatory for… observing, not for scientific research. But they let you look through the telescope which is fun whereas the science guys don’t unless you rent the place and apparently they want $30,000,000 Chilean pesos an hour to rent it (that’s about $60,000 Cdn.) Plus, you can jam your camera into the telescope to take pictures of things. Like Saturn, albeit at only 10x larger than actual.

I never made it to any big copper mines in Chile either, despite sending some disjointed emails to random copper outfits in broken Spanish. I should have told them I was a lumberjack perhaps. Then they would have moved quicker. Regardless, I am going to the big silver mine in Potosi, Bolivia. This is where the miners take you down with them to do some work, and you buy the alcohol, tobacco, coca leaves and dynamite beforehand at the market. That should be this coming weekend hopefully.

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