Sunday, March 5, 2017

Day 13: San Pedro de Atacama, "warm" springs

Day 13:  San Pedro de Atacama

Weather:  Pleasant, cool in shade and warm sun

Quote of the Day:  Even the guides are amazed at how much snow is on the mountains

·       I'm not someone who usually sends out threats. I warn only once. The day they touch one of my men, the rule of law is over.
·       Let today the unworthy phonies know that this person does not deceive those who do not betray it

It is hazy in the morning, this is from our room

Another sign it isn't a normal year, water flowing everywhere

Our last breakfast in the dining room at Tierra as tomorrow we have a 5am excursion. THB has very good pancakes and yogurt.
The entrance to the hot springs

The gorge

There are a number of pools

Sandra is again our excursion leader, we’re going to the hot springs. You can hike for 2.5 to 3.5 hours up the gorge to the springs. Along with us: the Brits and a Parisian couple in their 60s who spent at least 15 years working in London.

Changing rooms

We opt to take the van all the way to the springs, about 35 minutes. When we arrive, there are easily accessible changing stations (THB wears his light weight work-out shorts so no need to change and we slip into one of the pools in the middle. The water is luke warm and clear. DB has read that the water closer to the top of the series of pools is warmer so we head up to find out that the water temperature is about the same.

Sharing this new pool is the guy who is putting on the Banff Mountain Film Festival and his 16 year old son. They (and a daughter) are staying at the Tierra as well. Much discussion of the history of the film festival, his part of promoting and touring for it, the joys of staying at an all-inclusive and of course DJT.

The bottom of the pools; boardwalk being repainted

Our snacks

We soak for about 30-40 minutes, then meet up for snacks. The table next to us is on a longer tour which includes lunch and they have a great looking lunch until you realize the raw tuna appetizer has been sitting outside for quite a while and the empanadas were cooked over an electric frying pan 30 minutes ago.

Brit gets indigenous treatment for bite

Warm springs from above

Sandra took this photo, supposedly this is an active volcano

On far left is a wisp of an Incan trail

Eventually, we pack up and are at Tierra right at 1pm for lunch: green cantaloupe gazpacho (refreshing) for both, DB has a hambuergesa and THB pork loin and we both have the raspberry sorbet (the ginger is missing today).


Hamburgesia con fritas

Pork loin con mashed potatoes y fritas

Back to the room to talk with AMEX: LAN management doesn’t work on the weekends and Zooey at AMEX says her team will keep pursuing our firm commitment to sit in the airport for four hours ahead of departure when LAN says una hora will be no problema, it is plenty of time to make the connection (and, per Zooey, LAN told her: why would we want to spend 4 extra hours in the airport, like somehow LAN was looking out for us!).
Our lift to town

This is the airlines that doesn’t work on weekends. Apparently, per Zooey, since the flights we’re on are coupled, if we change to an earlier flight then they have to rebook the Santiago – LAX non-stop and AMEX doesn’t have “inventory” in the original class (wait, we just freed up two seats in that class, and we bought refundable tickets!). TBD

Mostly resting up this afternoon, with a dip at the pool and a short trip to town to get some pharmacy items. DB figures we paid double in this resort town for items over what our local Target would charge. San Pedro de Atacama is made up of tour agencies, tchotchkes shops, restaurants, and a church.  Most of the people wandering the town are between 18 and 32.
Syrah, not bad

Quinoa with large cracker

THB eats ostrich

DB has fish

Share an apple/red fruit strudel

Dinner is as always very nice:

A quick look at the stars and a 4:40am wake-up call for the 5am departure to see the geyser. We say goodbye to the Swiss-Ecuadorian couple, they did the geysers today and reminded us that at 6:30am in the high Andes it is very cold and to put on all those layers we brought.

Tomorrow we fly to Santiago on a non-stop, so no worries about missing flights. 

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