I was met and welcomed by my extraordinary host and hostess, Don and Genevieve. After a lovely late lunch in their apartment in the heart of Montmartre, we set off to explore the hills and streets of this part of Paris that once was its own small village in the 1600’s. Stopping for a drink at a pub, meeting sidewalk artists, looking at the windmills and Sacre Coeur with all the visitors and checking out all the little stores was part of the charm. We returned around 9.30 and it was still light outside. Extraordinaire!
Our last was spent traveling by bus to the ALMA site, the world’s largest radio telescope. We made reservations for this two months ago. For Andre, it was a pilgrimage. We toured the laboratory where they receive the signals from space. The big receiver dishes are way up on a desert plateau where all the scientists and workers have to wear oxygen to go up there. Needless to say, we did not go up there. It was incredible seeing how they are investigating space and the origins of life. The desert in Chile has the driest place in the world, perfect for looking into space.
In the evening we were supposed to look at stars through telescopes out in the desert but it was cancelled because of cloudy weather so Andre and I walked around San Pedro, shopped, visited the church and a heard a cultural dance and music performance in the plaza.
Our very last day, we packed and met Eleanor for croissants, then taxied over to see Chilen s place and Eleanore’s “Earth Ship”
House that is in progress and said our goodbyes before starting our long journey back to S.F.
Up at 5am to head out to see the geysers at sunrise. The geysers are biggest when it’s colder. – 17 c
14,000 Ft elevation. I defitely felt the altitude. They gave me Coca leaf tea for the cure. We saw flamingoes, vicuña, llamas, Andes geese, Huge coots, Andes sea gulls, and multicolored Chilean ducks in a wetland high in the Andes.
Back to San Pedro to get our bags and out to Tulor for a night on the edge of the salt flats in a hand built adobe house. Eleanore came out last night for an outdoor dinner. You could almost touch the stars overhead. Today we woke up to a sunrise on the desert and peace and quiet like I have not experienced for a little no time.
We made a trip into the Rainbow Canyon on a private tour. It was pretty fabulous. Andre loved all the interesting rocks, and there were lots of llamas, birds, and ancient petroglyphs.it was pretty high elevation 10,000 ft.
Health report: it’s been tricky, adjusting to the altitude, dry desert air, a stomach problem (me) and dehydration for the first couple of days but we are doing better plus it’s cold here.
tomorrow the get
What a pleasant surprise! We found a wonderful French bakery with Chocolate Croissants and baguettes, run by a young Frenchman. We made reservations for a tour for tomorrow to see a rainbow canyon and we will do some hiking.
On to lunch at Eleanore’s and to an event at the school where all Eleanore’s children attend. This was in another town\oasis about a half an hour away. They had a big stage set up and entertainment. First a Pavarotti in the Desert singer then little kids dancing to YMCA (in English). It was rather surreal. We cut out early and walked around the town, visiting a weaving shop and checking out the town’s water system.
The towns in the desert are supplied with water by a river or two that is channeled into sluices and small gates that open into people’s property in order to irrigate. A clever system developed by the pre-Incans thousands of years ago. It’s pretty interesting.