Time to leave Santiago. We have discovered that the house manager at the Embassy is called Macarena, and consequently want to stay and sing with her for ever..
However, a plane awaits us, and so back to the airport through the smog.
The air hostess convinced us that we COULD take our picnic and we would not be arrested for taking fruit and cheese on an internal flight so all was well..
What a view from that plane ! Stunning mountain ranges, snow and vast deserted plains..
Landing in to Calama was an event - a landing strip in the middle of the desert, just south of the huge chiquicima (?) copper mine, and a massey ferguson to transport our bags to the one reclaim belt.
An hour or so's drive through the desert - incredible scenery - salt formations, multi coloured rock, snow capped ex volcanos, and miles and miles of undulating, rippling, shadowy sand. Wonderful pleasant warmth and a steady breeze.
San Pedro de Atacama is the archetypal green blob in the middle of nowhere. How those travellers of old must have looked forward to seeing the change of colour on the horizon! It is a city made of mud and pebbles, with a white church made of cactus wood and adobe - the second oldest in Chile - 15/16th century.
Our lodge is whacky - adobe with wood burner and impressive showers. The stars are fabulous - the milky way is blinking at us and the southern cross stares out of the sky.
The adventures start tomorrow.