We got to the airport really early this morning. I was half sleep, so when the lady checking us in for the flight asked, “Mountain or sea?” I was seriously confused. The only thing I could answer was “huh?” She laughed at me and said she gets that response all the time. Mountain or sea means, do you want to sit on the left side of the plane and have a view of the Pacific Ocean, or on the right side and have a view of the Cordillera, the Andes mountain range. Because there were so many of us traveling together, we will be spread out so we could choose both. Personally I wanted to sit on the left side of the plane and see the Pacific Ocean. I love to see bodies of water from the air. Oceans form different shapes, and from that high are so so so so so beautiful!
While we were on the plane I had some time to reflect on where we were going. Atacama happens to be the driest desert in the world. Can you believe that some parts of this desert have had no recorded rainfall in over 400 years! Its geography is unique and includes lagoons, volcanoes, salt flats, geysers (shooting water/steam), hot springs, rivers and ravines, and saltpeter deposits. Earlier civilizations even left mummies, among the oldest in the World. I think it would be cool to see a real mummy up close. Of course, as you can tell, I did my homework on Atacama
Once we arrived, we went straight to our tour (bags and all.) The first stop was the Tatio Geyser. Even though there are a lot of geysers in one area, none of them erupt very high. The highest eruption observed has been around 20 feet high. The average geyser eruption at El Tatio is about two and a half feet. Wow, what a difference. It is said that the best time to see these geysers is at sunrise when each geyser is surrounded by a column of steam that condenses in the cold morning air. The steam disappears as the air warms up. It is also possible to bathe in a small pool of hot geyser water. BUT, parts of the field are very dangerous with a thin crust over the almost boiling mud. That would be a cool experience as long as we know which pool is which. LOL!
I think this trip is going to be a true adventure and we will have tons of stories to tell when we get back. But now all I can think about is the fact that the desert days are very hot and nights are very cold…WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR!!!!!!!!!