Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 70 How do you cross the Atacama Desert?

How do you cross the Atacama Desert?
  (a) very quickly
  (b) with as much water as you can carry
  (c) by the foggy coast
  (d) all of the above

Score well? The distances between the fishing shacks has thinned northward as forewarned, and the dunes are higher, the sand finer, the vegetation gone completely, and, new to the list of challenges, precipices, impassable ones.  The high coastal cliffs have foreced me three times to jump in the beater pickups among the fishermens' catch and get rides around the impassable parts to the next collection of shacks.  The fishermen for sure admire my adventure, but when it's just not possible to pass along the coast, and there are absolutely no villages or hamlets, or even lone gas stations along  the interior highway, hitching a ride is the only way they'll let me continue.  Sad for me, but reasonable.  I've shortened the pilgrimage by about 120 kilometers because of this, and there might be a little more to come.

Consequently, I've taken to carrying 3 liters of water and walking well past the daily marathon target 8 of the last 11 days.  Still, I'm enjoying the long walk along the beach.  Soon enough, I'll be at the border and head interior to Lake Titicaca and Cuzco (for Christmas).

I don't recognize many of the fish I've been eating, being an East Coast girl, but the fishermen do a fine job preparing evening meals over hot embers of driftwood.  There's an interesting monovalve mollusc in the mix, called lapa here, that's particularly tasty, along the lines of the meat of crab claws, and boiled, roasted, or batter-dipped and fried, is a delectable repast, sand and all.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Sheila Phelan Wright said...

Happy Thanksgiving. Lots of gratitude that you have those fishermen (and the fish) supporting you on this adventure.

Susan Alcorn said...

Happy Thanksgiving. Such an adventure and you have so much ahead, too. I loved Lake Titicaca and riding in the reed boats out to the floating reed islands--hope you can do that, too.

Anonymous said...

You're quite sure that fishermen "admire your adventure"?

I might admire it,save for the hubris, but perhaps you're the recipient of courtesy long gone in your country and mine.