Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Saturday, October 22, 2022

South America : Day 9 : Flamingos, Arsenic and Old Lakes…

All aboard! We started early today for our nine hour drive down through deepest darkest Bolivia on our way to Chile. 

As we avoided the narc/drugs stops, avoided the wild llama herds crossing our path, and avoided the more active of the volcanoes; we drove through scrubland, a desert, up onto high mountain plains, along bumpy mountain trails, down dirt track roads, and through rock fields. We dodged boulders, got a flat tyre, and went so far off road we were guessing which way to go next. 

But we saw flamingos, rheas, llamas, long-tailed rabbits, ducks, vicuñas (llama relative), perdiste (partridge-like running bird), a large expanse of hedgehog plants, yellow and green mosses, ice-encrusted streams, borax lakes (no really) and massive rocks that had been thrown miles across the plain by exploding volcanos. 

Arriving at the stunning Red lagoon we saw 10,000s of flamingos (the red of the water comes from the red plankton that in turn makes the flamingo’s feathers pink 🦩). We saw all three types - the James, the Andean and the brighter red Chilean - all up close. Just amazing. 

We then drove for another hour or two up to 4800m to the Sol de Manana geysers.  Lava hitting water mixed with copper, iron or sulphur, the geysers bubbled, gurgled, spat and steamed in a variety of colours and smells. We got a little lost in the steamy fumes too. 

We then descended down to the Chalviri salt flats. Not as big as at Uyuni but impressive nevertheless. 

On the way to our next stop, the Green lagoon, we stopped off for lunch at the Blue lagoon. And then another stop at the White lagoon. They do like to give their lagoons colours here. 

Oh and we also stopped off in a desert. The way you do. 

When we got there, the Green lagoon was indeed very impressive. Impressive but utterly poisonous. The green colour is arsenic! ☠️ 

The bumpy driving continued until finally we reached the Chilean border.  And tarmac!  

Bolivia, it’s been great. Such natural wonders.

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