Saturday, February 10th, 2018
10.2. Gwendo Day: Happy birthday Gwendo!!!
Wenn Du ganz fest auf den Boden zwischen Deinen Füssen schaust, so fest, dass dort ein ganz, ganz tiefes Loch entsteht, siehst Du mich auf der anderen Seite winken! Und wenn Du ganz leise bist, hörst Du mich happy birthday singen!!
Happy birthday Gwendo!!!
Packed my stuff. Significantly more empty, less heavy since we visited the CorreoCentral. Did I send home too much stuff yesterday? Latest we will see on the Inca Trail.
I eat the monster from the market. It tastes fine, still it is a lot of tomato in the morning
We go down to the lobby and to pay the bill, check the bill. No transport there. They did not order airport transfer as agreed – “Please, do it now.” – “Yes, sir” – “There are items on the bill I donot know and I didnot consume. Please, make them disappear.” – “Yes, sir, that’s why we ask to check.” … Short talk if it should be a standard procedure that every customer has to check the bill – Andy finds the mistakes and hands me over a new bill.
Now, breakfast. It is 7:10 am, should start at 7:00 am. This was questioned and promised yesterday explicitely for 7:00 am. Everything still dark in there …
Hectic phone calls. Two girls come very relaxed. Seems they have stress now. Other people are waiting, too. We get 20 min breakfast, then go with a shortly ordered remis for 25.000 AR$ to the airport. At 7:30 am in about 15 min, queue up for baggage tagging, queue up for baggage dropping. We queue all the time. I definitely need LatAm gold status.
We go to the gate and go on the plane within some minutes. The first advice of the receptionist to leave the hotel at 08:00 am for a 9:10 am flight would have been in the end a little short planned.
FLIGHT 10: LatAm LA0148 from Santiago de Chile (SCL) 09:10 am to Calama (CJC) 11:15 am, duration 2h05, Oneworld miles at Iberia;
We start at perfect sunshine:
The plane seems to be overbooked over the last seat. At least i have to share my seat:
Landed on the most green airport of the world.
Our driver waits in the entrance hall, takes us with a new small minibus in one hour to San Pedro de Attacama. The drive is dry …
We get our program. As you see on my pen marks something changed later on:
We are dropped at 01:00 pm at our hotel Poblado Kimal. The driver from TourisTour hands us over our program without comment. He doesnot speak any word english. We do the check in, get a nice bungalow and since we have until 03:00 pm for our first tour, we go and have some lunch.
It had rained in San Pedro de Atacama (according to Wikipedia the Atacama desert is the most dry desert on earth outside of Polar regions. Sometimes it doesnot rain for decades). So we are here and it rains. Everything is muddy.
As we come home to our hotel at 2:30 pm, there is a no-show note from TurisTour:
TurisTour seem to be very flexible in changing tour iteniaries without telling customers. I walk to their office, super unfriendly, my fault. I am not alone there, customers queue up to complain. As I recommend potential customers not to book here, they get friendlier. It seems that tomorrows 5 am activity is cancelled because of rain, too. Nice that they (or our driver from the morning) didnot tell. Now they tell me they’ll inform the hotel and rebook todays afternoon tour to tomorrow. I won an afternoon on the pool. DONOT GO TURISTOUR.
It starts to rain. So we go to reception, they got no information from TurisTour. I didnot expect. We walk again to TurisTour’s office. Good luck, there is another girl. She is able to look straight. She rebooks a lot and cares, change the closed geysers to a fullday tour instead, and hands me out a voucher I will easily get a refund with back home in Austria. I donot laugh.
We go for dinner to Adobe TripAdvisor.
We had super sunny weather while travelling the Andes and hiking Torres del Paine. Now in one of the dryest places of the world it rains. Everything gets muddy and it seems that some of the main attractions are not accessable as Geyser del Tatio for instance due to the rain.
So we do a little bit of rebooking the schedule to what is possibe (Valle de la Luna and Salar de Atacama y Toconao). Everything looks very touristic here. Without the tourists it must be completely empty. That is what the receptionist confirms, off season the village is empty.
Now, in the rain everything gets muddier. I hope we can go to the desert tomorrow.
Everything is a little bit more expensive here (like skiing regions back home in Austria)