Day 33: Atacama

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I am legitimately wearing all of the clothes I brought with me in this picture because it was 5 degrees (no seriously, that’s not an exaggeration).

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Valle de la Luna

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As it turns out, llama meat is actually so dang good and I didn’t feel bad at all. Susie the Llama, I appreciate you so much (yes, we did find out the name of the llama we were….meeting)
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Stargazing a few steps outside of San Pedro
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I look scary but I like this pic anyway

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We were not prepared for negative temperatures.

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Eating breakfast among some pink-feathered friends

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100% not photoshopped
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Mom, I’m sorry I look homeless in this picture. I honestly thought it was going to be warmer.

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Can we please just take a moment of silence for how incredible those views are? I mean gosh I can’t believe I was standing in that spot looking at what I always imagined was a photoshopped picture from Pinterest when, indeed, such places do exist.

This past weekend was one of the greatest trips I’ve ever experienced. The Atacama Desert was one of the most beautiful and raw places I’ve seen and I loved getting to go away with my pals.

What I loved about San Pedro was how it attracted such a cool group of people from all over the world. Walking in the streets was like walking in Epcot at Disney World, bouncing between accents and people who could switch between languages faster than I can even form full English thoughts, each person wanting to see something amazing or just enjoy a little time in the desert and the people who make a tourist destination such an indigenous environment.

Instead of trying to turn this post into my own tour of the desert, I’m gonna let the pictures speak for themselves and instead just tell a funny story. So here goes:

We spent Thursday afternoon and night finally getting to the desert, which is a small victory for a group of 10 people. When we walked in the front door of this dirt shack at 1am, we started unloading bags and trying to get set up for our 4 days in this room. Suddenly I started pulling out clothes and bags from my backpack that had this weird gray dirt on them so I looked inside my backpack and I found this creature at the bottom. It was a crinkly, gray and green blob of unknown matter that had set up a permanent residence in the bottom corner. This thing basically had a mailbox because of how much of the surrounding area it had spread to. I covered my hands with plastic bags and pulled it out only to realize it was AN ORANGE THAT HAD MOLDED and completely integrated itself into the liner of my backpack. The orange and the bag were now one.

I pulled this thing out and saw the remnants of what was once a fruit and was now some alien creature going through the final stages of decomposition and was completely horrified because I knew this was 100% my fault for leaving an orange in my bag for three weeks after hiking La Campana. I had to wipe out my bag and then avoid eye contact with the girl sitting at the front desk who watched me leave my room at 1:30am to throw away a clumpy plastic bag that I was holding with hands protected by other plastic bags and a look of disgust on my face. I honestly can’t even imagine what she thought I was doing. I’m gonna try not to think about it now.

When I got home from Atacama, I was telling my Chilean mom about this whole mess of orange discovery and self-hatred and the mess that I had to clean up (all in some kind of broken Spanish that I pray every day she might understand) and she laughs and said, “Now this makes so much sense.” I looked at her with a look of confusion and she said that my entire host family had been smelling something weird upstairs but could never figure out what it was and why it wasn’t coming from the kitchen. She’s telling me this news that I’d never heard and now I’m immediately embarrassed because my host mom probably thinks I don’t shower or something until I remembered that I was sick for about 10 days last week and had no sense of smell whatsoever. GUYS, I COULDN’T SMELL FRUIT ROTTING IN MY ROOM. Needless to say, we were both grateful that we found the culprit of the weird smell, except I’m less glad because now I have to go scrub out my backpack with steel wool or maybe napalm if that doesn’t work.

If you’re grossed out by that story, just be grateful I didn’t include the photos or videos of the actual thing and go focus on that pic of the baby llama. It’s so cute, right?DSC_0469

 

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