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Day 69 Poor Man's Dakar - Special Stage #3

semi-overcast 15 °C
View 100 days/ 100 gün on ayca ozer's travel map.

Slightly hungover, we hit the breakfast and then the road.
It had rained heavily all night, so the "roads" are muddy and slippery, it shows, as we see a bunch of trucks and cars flipped over, on the side of the road. IMG_4819.jpg
Soon enough, our jeep gets stuck in the mud, trying to avoid collision with another car. Our companion jeep maneuvers, and pulls ours out of the mud pile. We will be driving a little bit more cautiously from now on, we hope.

IMG_4817.jpg An hour later we arrive at the Train Cemetery just outside Uyuni. This where all the decommissioned trains and cars are dumped to decay, but tourism managed to turn this sight in to a junkyard playground, they make great props for all sorts of pictures. IMG_4818.jpg

Next stop is Salar de Uyuni, world's largest salt lake and possibly the largest depository of lithium. ECB355572219AC68171AAAC02CB02680.jpg Due to heavy rain in the past couple of days, the water levels are relatively high and even some parts of the lake are inaccessible, this means we can not cover the whole lake, bummer.
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We cruise the shallow waters of the lake in our jeeps and reach a dry part to take a break for lunch. IMG_4814.jpg Lunch is served from the back of the jeeps and had on the hoods. People are out making all sorts of fun photos, because the 3 cm water depth provides a great visual illusion by reflecting the pretty clouds and negates the horizon. IMG_4815.jpg
Filled to the brim with sights, nature and joy for the past three days, we bid farewell to everybody, some depart back to San Pedro, some to Potosi, we on the other hand spend the night in Uyuni in search of a hot shower. IMG_4813.jpg

Posted by ayca ozer 09:33 Archived in Bolivia Tagged desert train cemetery lake mud bolivia jeep illusion uyuni salar salk lithium Comments (0)

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)

64.Gun Atacama 102: sabah gayzer, aksam tuz golu

all seasons in one day -10 °C
View 100 days/ 100 gün on ayca ozer's travel map.

Sabah 3:30'da kalkarken herhalde cildirmis olmaliyiz.. Siesta bizim neyimize diye soyleniyorduk. Atacama Colu'nun tum gizemlerini bir bir ogrenecegiz ya, sabahin koru turunda istikamet gayzerler! Efendim, bulundugumuz yuksekligin sarhoslugu yetmiyormus gibi, 4300 metre'deki Tatio Gayzerlerine cikacagiz. Tur operatorleri gozumuzu iyi korkuttu, bir gece oncesinde hafif yedik( kirmizi et yok), alkol icmedik. Sabah kahvalti yapmadan saat 4:00'de bizi alacak servisi bekliyoruz.

Bu sefer de gunesi doguracagiz :))) Otobusumuz iki saat boyunca durmaksizin irtifa kazanirken, biz icerde uykuyla sarhosluk kolkola tirmandigimiz dag ve tepelerin farkinda bile degiliz. Saat 6:00'da Tatio Gayzerlerine vardigimizda disarida hava - 10 dereceyi gosteriyor.
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Rehberimiz, gayzerleri nazli gelin/periodu gecikmis kadin gibi turlu turlu cinsiyetci sakalarla kizdirip ortami biraz olsun isitmaya calisiyor. Aldigi cevap ( oh canima degsin) bol kukurtlu ve kopuklu homurdanma oluyor... IMG_9201.jpg Bu kadar soguk ve acligin uzerine yeni dogan gunes ve gayzer suyunda haslanmis yumurtalar icimizi isitiyor. 90_IMG_9204.jpg
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Karnimiz doyup, gunes de yukselmeye baslayinca cevremizi saran floranin farkina variyoruz. Sari otlarin uzerine dusen donmus cig taneleri bu yukseklikte insani sasirtan bir guzellik sunuyorlar. IMG_9236.jpg

Megersem gun guzelliklerle doluymus, -unutmusuz mayolarinizi yaniniza alin demislerdi- sonraki duragimiz 30 derece kukurtlu termale dalmaca. IMG_0235.jpg Kemiklerimiz iyice isininca pismis kelle misali kameraya siritiyoruz :))

Erken kalkar erken yol alir misali bir de dag koyune gidiyoruz yol boyunca turlu turlu guzellikler bizimle. IMG_0237.jpg Once Patagonya'da gordugumuz vicunalarin bir kucugu guanocolara rastliyoruz. Sonra da Putana Vadisi'nde kucuk bir golete yuvalanmis ordekgilleri izliyoruz.

Vardigimiz koyde megersem 20 kisi yasarmis, mevsim dolayisiyla 4 kisi kalmislar. Biri tuvalette nobet tutuyor, 90_IMG_9262.jpg ikisi biz turistlere empanada pisiriyor, digeri daglardan topladigi otlari satiyor... 90_IMG_9281.jpg Koyun diger sakini ise Lamalar. O kadar evciller ki nereye koysan duruyor.. Cobana gozetlemeye gerek yok ... IMG_9266.jpg

Koyde koyluler yok, ama insaat yapan ustalar var. Ozer hemen teftise gidiyor... Kaz daglarindaki duvar yapim sekliyle Atacama dag koylerinin insaa adetlerini benzer buluyor :)) IMG_9276.jpg

Eve donerken saat 13:00 olmus, gercek bir kahvalti ardindan uyku bizi 16:00'daki siesta fiesta turuna hazirliyor.

Birgune iki tur fazla mi derken acenta
Ikinci turun tam bir keyif turu olacagini soyleyip bizi ikna etmisti. Nitekim oyle oldu.

Once tuz golunde (Laguna Cejar) iyice bir tuzlaniyoruz, batmak istesek de bir turlu basaramiyoruz!! IMG_9327.jpg
Sonra yagmur/dogal su kaynakli baska bir golde (Tebinquiche Lagoon) durulanip, tuzlarimizdan ariniyoruz...
Ardindan pisco sourlarimiz esliginde gunesi batirmaya kurumus bir tuz golu ( Chaxa Lagoon) gidiyoruz. Gunes hala tepemizdeyken muazam tuz duzlugunun yarattigi fotografik eglencenin tadini cikariyoruz :))
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Ardindan -artik alisik oldugumuz uzere- Atacama gunesini bir kez daha batirip, otelimizin yolunu tutuyoruz...

Posted by ayca ozer 10:39 Archived in Chile Tagged desert lake salt lama atacama lagoons siesta geyzers Comments (0)

63.gun Atacama 101: Olum ve Ay Vadileri

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

Dun gittigimiz gokyuzu turu ardindan uzerimize ay tozlari bulasmis, keyfimiz yerinde :)) Belki gokyuzu hipnozu belki de 2400 metre yuksekligin sarhoslugu uzerimizde, sonraki uc gun icin dort tur birden secip kaydoluyoruz (sayiyla 3 gune 4 tur sigdirmaya azmediyoruz).

Gunboyu sicak ve sempatik San Pedro de Atacama sokaklarini dolastiktan sonra kendimizi 16:00'da turizm agentamiz Desert Tour'a teslim ediyoruz. IMG_0224.jpg Durum oyle gosteriyor ki hic de yalniz degiliz. Bizim gibi, her kose basinda bir tura yazilmis onlarca kisi beklemekte. 24 kisilik minubusu dolduruyoruz. Rehberimiz Ingilizce ve Ispanyolca bize guzergahi anlatiyor. Bugun Atacama Colu 101 (universite yillarini geride birakanlar icin bu bir giris dersi kodu :) alacagiz. Tepeden Olum Vadisine bakip, yeralti magralarini turlayip, gunesi Ay Vadisi'nde batiracagiz.

Ilk duragimiz Olum Vadisine ulasmak icin kupkuru bir yoldan 20 dakika tirmaniyoruz. IMG_9004.jpg Ilerdeki karli daglar olmasa, kendimizi Star Wars'in setinde sanmamiz an meselesi. IMG_0218.jpg Adi ustunde o kadar kuru o kadar cansiz, o kadar olu! Yine de bu vadiye, vaktiyle adini koyan Italyan gibi "olu" demeye dilimiz varmiyor. Bir yaniyla o kadar heybetli ve ihtisamli. 

Otobuse geri dondugumuzde istikamet bir gun oncesine kadar yagan yagmurlar yuzunden kapali bulunan magralar. Gozumuz yeni yeni kurakligin sicak pembe-kizil rengine alismisken, bu renge tezat teskil eden beyaza sasiriyoruz. IMG_9069.jpg Magranin girisine vardigimizda etrafimiz kar misali tuz kristalleriyle kaplaniyor. IMG_0216.jpg Bir dehliz misali kimi zaman iki buklum, kimi zaman surunerek gectigimiz magradan cikarken anliyoruz ki bu tuz, aslinda bu cole can veren! Yasam dongusunun kaynagi!!! IMG_0223.jpg

[Bundan 22 milyon yil once Atacama, bir tuz goluymus...Ufukta gordugumuz daglar seviyesine kadar yukselen bu gol, volkanik patlamalar sonucu eriyip gitmis yok olmus... Ama tuz her yere sizmis, yapismis, kalmis.. Yagan yagmurla, buharlasan damlayla hep dolasimda :))  ]

Bu kiymetli toprak parcasi, Sili Doga Parki koruma alani ve bu bolgenin yerlilerine ait. Dogal park isletmesinde yerliler calisiyor, kendi parklarini kendileri gozetiyorlar... 90_IMG_9080.jpg Oyle ki Ozer'in cocuklasip, kum tepelerinde kaymak istegi, gozetmenlerin ilk uyarisiyla son buluyor :))

IMG_9107.jpg Son duraga ulasmadan once 'Uc Meryem' kayaliklarina bakmaya gidiyoruz. Ruzgarin ve atmosferik kosullarin sekillendirdigi bu kayaliklari, Rehber dahil kimse Meryem'e benzetemiyor, ama sagdakinin Pacman'e benzediginden herkes hemfikir:))

IMG_0217.jpg Ay Vadisine geldigimizde gunesin batmasina 40 dakika var. Hava hala sicak, ama gunes batinca buz gibi olacak diye uyari geliyor. Biz de kazaklarimizi belimize sarip dik yamaci tirmaniyoruz. IMG_0215.jpg Yine adi ustunde topografik ve jeolojik ozellikleri itibariyle bu topraklar dunyamizin tatli kucuk uyudusu 'ay'i andiriyor... Tuz, kil ve bircok mineralin ust uste binmesinden olusan milyonlarca yillik dev kitleler uzerinde yerlerimizi aliyoruz.

IMG_0213.jpg Sonunda gunes batiyor... Belki de gun boyu gorduklerimizin etkileyiciliginden, gunesin batisi bize 'normal' geliyor...Esas asagiya inerken gordugumuz tur otobuslerinin coklugu bizi sarsiyor. IMG_9142.jpg Ay Vadisi o kadar buyuk ki, minubusler dolusu turist birbirinin farkina varmadan gunesi batirip, San Pedro de Atacama'ya donebiliyor...

Posted by ayca ozer 12:52 Archived in Chile Tagged desert san death valley moon de pedro salt atacama Comments (0)

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