[SALAR DE ATACAMA, CHILE] — Only miles from the driest valley on the planet is the Salar de Atacama, the great salt flats of the Atacama Desert, a salty oasis in the middle a great pan of caked soil…and a calm resting place for flitting, sipping and slurping Andean flamingos. At about 7,500 feet above sea level, the air is clear and the sun strong. This is the third largest salt flat in the world, and it sits in its own chunky basin, ringed by a great string of volcanoes in every direction. You literally can set a string line for miles and miles and the elevation barely changes — it’s about 1,200 square miles. Out of the dried flaking cakes of mud, pops pockets of water that shimmer with the wind, flamingos going about their business of slurping and casually walking and doing what flamingos do. It is a stunning sight, their pink against the pink sky, the pink ground and the blue mirror glistening water. So peaceful. So surreal.
On the way to the salt flats, the tour stops into this great little town (don’t remember the name) where you get a glimpse of what it’s like to live here, in the desert. The hotel wants you to help the local community and stops at a perfect little (not touristy cheesy) shop where you can by locally-made goods, of high caliber. And even meet the llamas who made them.
Not a lot of trees around here, so they use cactus wood for frame and structures.
You could not Art Direct this cute little church. The lighting, the arrangement, the pictures. Perfect.
He made the hat I bought.
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