Sunday 29 June 2014

Day 46: The River Is Yellow?

Freight train heads to the Chile/Bolivia border
We were originally supposed to leave on a three-day jeep trip to Uyuni (Bolivia) two days previously but the weather had other ideas.  Even after deferring the trip, the border with Bolivia remained snowed-up and we had to get up at 4am to drive to a border crossing further north.  It took most of the day to get back on route so sightseeing was limited, although we stopped in another mini Monument Valley in mid-afternoon to ogle some rocks.

As dusk approached, the jeep driving became more hair-raising and we decided it was time to put the slings and carabiners from our climbing gear to use as seat belts (a technique we have used in India).  But just before the sun went down we realised the reason for the driver's haste; we had arrived at Laguna Colorado - a beautiful high-altitude lake, tinged with red and flecked with the pink plumage of flamingos.  We wandered along the shore and found many unhatched flamingo eggs, long after the end of the breeding season.  The driver told us that the winds are sometimes too strong up here for the eggs or young birds to survive.

We spent the night well above 4000m in accommodation known for its chill.  This may be a problem for those who stay in hotels, but for those who have been camping in the Atacama for most of the last week, the cold was never going to be a problem.  More of an issue was the lack of a bar, so Guy decided to pay a night time visit to the shop on the far side of the river.  "Hielo" ("ice") warned the cook who was preparing our dinner, warning him that the river was frozen and could only be crossed by means of a ford.  Despite feeling deeply confused by the warning that the river was "yellow", Guy wandered off and returned half an hour later looking decidedly happy with a couple of beers in his hand.  To guard against the danger of future night time drownings, the Spanish for "ice" has since become a part of his vocabulary.

Apparently this rock is shaped like a Condor. Seemingly everything is in the Andes!
Land-Cruisers mass waiting to take us on our way.
Crossing a river in Bolivia
One of two glimpses we had of a Rhea (a flightless bird related to the Ostrich)
Abandoned flamingo eggs at Laguna Colorado

No comments:

Post a Comment