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Day 68 Poor Man's Dakar - Special Stage #2

all seasons in one day 16 °C

After a hearty breakfast, we get back on the road. IMG_0761.jpg
Our first stop is "Stone Tree", a collection of rocks sitting around the desert, that make a great setting for all sorts of photos. By now, the sun is out bright, it is almost hot. IMG_0765.jpg
Next up is Canapa Lake, where we take a walk along the shore and get back on the jeep to drive up to the higher steppe, at this point the desert officially turns in to a steppe, marked by a very distinguished border of desert sand meeting vegetation.

We drive by a couple of lagunas and the Chiguana Salt Lake with flamingos, the weather is close to freezing by now. IMG_0766.jpg
It starts raining, and in an instant, the steppe in front of us, seems to be flooded for miles, as its surface is as shiny as a mirror on this overcast day now. 5 minutes later we realize that, flooding is actually hail sticking on the surface, not the reflection of clouds on the imaginary flood water, desert mirages are not over yet.
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Further down the road, at the Valles de Rocas, in freezing rain, we climb the strange rock formations that resemble Cappadoccia and an Andean condor!

At the village of San Juan, a largish village where a bunch of jeeps on desert trips stop by for lunch, so do we. After lunch we head out to the house-cum-hotel where we will be staying the night, and where we have to play rock-paper-scissors to take turns to get in the two minute hot shower, at least there is some hot water.
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Store next door has got a decent selection of liquor so we put it in to good use, and by the end of the lama steak dinner, everybody is lit up, ready for an extended magic show. IMG_0768.jpg

Posted by ayca ozer 13:47 Archived in Bolivia Tagged desert show shower jeep magic flamingo laguna uyuni dakar Comments (0)

Day 67 Poor Man's Dakar - Special Stage #1

sunny 10 °C

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Read so much about it, heard so much about it, and it is finally the day for The Poor Man's Dakar, a 3 day jeep trip in to Bolivia, thru the desert, the pampa, the mountains and everything in between.
Bummed for missing the chance to see the real Dakar while in Chile, we hope to get a feel for it on this trip.
So we get up early and walk down to the agency where we are supposed to wait for the pick up at 8:00 AM. There is no bus in sight but a fellow traveller Dan is there, as punctual as a German should be. We start chatting to break the ice, and after about 45 minutes finally the bus shows up packed with 9 other fellow passengers, we are the last 3 to get on it. By now there is no ice left anywhere in sight, everybody except us, got to know each other pretty well it seems.
We drive for five minutes and we are at the Chilean customs. The place is packed with other jeep tourists, we are the last bus to get there. Customs cleared we get back on the bus for the Bolivia border, an hour drive up to the mountains, this is where we get off the bus and will get on the two jeeps for the trip, 6 passengers on each one.
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Once again, the Bolivia passport control is packed with other jeep tourists, so first thing first, open buffet breakfast is served in an abandoned stone house, which might have been the former customs office, who knows.
After breakfast, we clear the customs, the officer in charge goes thru his visa waiver list and grants us Turks 30 days in Bolivia.
Our driver Beimar, a small stocky Boliviano, who speaks little English but never misses a chance to joke around, loads all the bags on top of the jeep and orders us to board the vehicle, we are already behind schedule.
In 10 minutes, we are at the National Park entrance, we pay our fees and in 2 minutes we are at our first stop, Laguna Bianca. IMG_9680.jpg
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Then off to a hill by Laguna Verde, where the wind is so strong, it is the only help we have to climb back up the hill to the jeep after visiting the shore.
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Next up is the "Dali Desert", a strange set of rocks adorn the slopes of the desert, a surreal and a magical sight definitely.
Another 30 minutes of drive and we are at the Termas de Polques hot spring. Since we had our share of thermal waters two days before and knowing that there won't be any showers to rinse off the salt later at the refuge, we decide not to take a dip, but we observe the others dipping.
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Later at about 4500 meters above sea level, we visit the Sol de Manana geysers with the usual foul sulphur smell. We then cross a pass at 5100 meters above sea level, for an instant, we are higher than anybody back home.
A little after noon, we reach the refuge, a basic shelter structure with a mess hall, toilets and a couple of dorm rooms, this is where we will be spending the night.
Lunch is served, and we're told we need to finish all food or there won't be any afternoon excursions! At this point we are so overwhelmed by what we have seen so far, we do our best to chow down as much as possible, but there are still some leftovers, unfortunately...
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Despite our misbehaving, after lunch we are taken to Laguna Colorada, a reddish salt lake, home to many flamingos. As it is customary and with flamingoes too far away to really observe, our crew put together their own rendition of a flamingo flock.
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Back at the refuge we are treated to coffee and tea, while a group of kids show up in the mess hall to perform what seems to be the "Bolivia's Got Talent".
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Pasta dinner and some scored local wine from the local shop, we are treated to a magic show by our friend Dan, who apparently is a well known magician in his homeland, Germany.
With the solar powered electricity batteries exhausted just like all of us, we switch it off in our freezing dorm rooms.
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Posted by ayca ozer 06:23 Archived in Bolivia Tagged desert border geysers jeep verde laguna solar dakar customs talent refuge bianca colorada Comments (0)

60. ve 61. Gunler La Serena

sunny 29 °C
View 100 days/ 100 gün on ayca ozer's travel map.

Atacama Colune gecmeden once bir durak daha yapmamiz gerekiyor. Valparaiso - San Pedro de Atacama arasi otobusle 25 saat. Tercihimizi Sili'nin en eski ikinci kenti olan La Serena'dan yana yapiyoruz. Burasi Pasifik okyanusu kiyisinda, Ispanyol kolonyel izlerini tasiyan bir kent.
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Otobuse binmeden once anlastigimiz airbnb bize son dakika celmesi takiyor, tek kisilik yatak oneriyor. Terminalde otelsiz kalakaliyoruz. Ozer eline Lonely Planet'i alip sokak sokak dolasiyor. Rehberdeki yerler de dolu biliyoruz, ama sora sora baska bir hostelde yer buluyor ve bir garajdan bozma odalardan birine yerlesiyoruz. Onumuzdeki iki gun Dakar Rallisi, La Serena'ya gelip, buradan finish'e, Valparaiso'ya devam edecek. Bu yuzden mi heryer dolu bilemiyoruz.

Ilk gece saskin bir halde, hala kentin merkezini olusturan eski kenti bulup, ic avlulu lokantalardan birinde, Sili mutfagi bilgimizi arttiriyoruz. Ben yerel icecek Pisco Sour'u galiba sevmeye basliyorum.

IMG_8805.jpg Ertesi sabah enerjimiz yerinde bir sekilde, rehberlerde ovulen Japon bahcesinde basliyoruz. IMG_0021.jpg Baltalimani'ndaki Japon Bahcesi'nin iki kati buyuklugunde, ortasinda buyukce bir golet var... Bolgenin faunasi, siyah boyunlu kugular burada da var. Bahceden ciktigimizda havanin ne kadar sicak oldugunun farkina variyoruz. Serin bir kose buluruz umuduyla yine eski kentte yollaniyoruz.

90_IMG_8950.jpg La Serena, 16. Yy'in sonlarinda kurulmus, neokoloniyel mimariye sahip. Her bina en fazla iki kat yuksekliginde olunca kiliseler on plana cikiyor.. Hizlica pazari dolasip ogle yemegine oturuyoruz. 90_IMG_8811.jpg

Santiago'da kesfettigim Mote'yi de bulunca serinliyoruz. 90_IMG_8407.jpg (Mote aslinda bizim hosafa cok benziyor ama cicekli bir bitkinin haslanmasiyla yapiliyor, icine bolca haslanmis bugday katilarak soguk sekilde ikram ediliyor).

Siesta zamanini gecirip once Dakar'in pesine dusmeye heves ediyoruz. IMG_8819.jpg O yone olan trafigi ve ulasim olanaksizligini gorunce istikameti plaja ceviriyoruz.

IMG_8823.jpg La Serena her ne kafar okyanus kiyisinda bir kent olsa da merkezden plaja yurumek 40 dakikamizi aliyor. Ertesi gun plaj keyfi yapmayi planladigimiz icin Pasifik'i iyice kolacan ediyoruz...kocaman ve renkli deniz analari sahile vurmus. 90_IMG_8844.jpg ama halkin derdi degil. Balik tutan veya kabuklu toplayan da var, ata binen ya da atv yapan da ... IMG_8825.jpg IMG_8904.jpg IMG_8901.jpg IMG_8862.jpg Biz Pasifik'te gunesi batirmakla yetiniyoruz. IMG_8912.jpg

Cumartesi gunu, Pasifik'e atlamadan cole gecmek yok deyip, plaj keyfinden biz de faylananiyoruz. Aksam Atacama'ya otobusumuz oldugu icin, kiyida gobek dansi calisan gruba birkac figur gosteremeden ayriliyoruz... IMG_8940.jpg

Posted by ayca ozer 03:55 Archived in Chile Tagged beach garden la mote dakar serena japon Comments (0)

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