Monday, July 28, 2008
Arica and Ancient Putre, Chile
This port is only 18 km from the border of Peru and it is situated on the edge of the Atacama Desert.
With less than 1mm (0.03inches) of rain a year, it is one of the driest inhabited places on earth.
From the port I took a 7½ hour trip up into the mountains.
The town of Ancient Putre is located at about 10,000 feet and the effects of the sudden change in altitude were quite evident with light-headedness and loss of breath.
To combat the problem we were given a cup of Coca tea. Made with Coca leaves, it increase the absorption of oxygen in blood and helps combat altitude sickness. The leaves of the coca plant are used to make cocaine.
The scenery on the way was just amazing.
The mountains appeared to be of sand without absolutely no vegetation as far as the eye could see. The fact that the roads zigzag up the steep sides is also quite remarkable.
How the Spanish conquistadores crossed this region is unbelievabale.
In the distance we could see the peaks of the Andes Mountains.
The sights were awesome.
I’m sorry the pics just don’t do any of this justice.
Photo: Road to ancient Putre
Photo: Valley near Putre and Andes Mountains