The morning after experiencing my first earthquake in life in the heart of the Atacama desert in Chile , I woke up extremely well rested at 9:30am. I spent the day running very unlikely errands for the desert, but important ones given all the technological drama I had in the Uyuni salt flats and the Siloli desert in Bolivia. My dear phone had crashed, and now I needed to either get it fixed or get a new one. It had been serving as my camera, but now I needed to use my camera and it turned out the Chinese memory chips I had bought at a great price near Bus station in town (Nairobi) were not working. I needed therefore to also buy a new one. I also needed to find a place to get my laundry done. I had almost no clean clothes after my cross country journey across Bolivia. I walked to the city center and it was like something from a Texan cowboy movie. The city center was a collection of little shops. It was really hot too. I kept on expecting to see a horse or cow carcass on the dirt road.
For a little town, San Pedro de Atacama had some nice restaurants. I went into one and had a hearty meal. I then hurried back to the hotel where I was to be picked around 3:45pm to go to the floating lagoon. This is a world famous lagoon whose salt concentration is so high that everyone floats. As much as you try to force yourself underwater, you can't. I hopped on the tour bus and we had a tour guide who kept on pointing out things in our drive, but I could not understand a word of it even though it was in English. He had the strongest Spanish accent I have ever heard. Every English word sounded like a Spanish word. I gave up on understanding him and just enjoyed the view.
The lagoon was amazing though very cold. There were hundreds of people in it, but it was large enough to not feel crowded. I spent close to half an hour floating around in it, and it was wonderful seeing how gleeful all the people in it were. Some things in life turn all of us into little kids - who get easily excited. When I got out of the floating lagoon, I was white - completely white - even Whitenicious could not have done a more extreme job:-) That is when I realized just how salty the lagoon was. Even my dreadlocks had salt crystals on them.
We were taken to a freshwater lagoon to wash off the salt. That lagoon was made of melting icecubes. It was FREEEEEZING. I did a 30 second dip in the lagoon, and tried to get off as much salt as I could off my body with my fingers that were quickly turning into popsicles. The day ended with us having pisco sour cocktails and snacks in the middle of the desert as the sun set. It was such a beautiful sight. I had originally planned to go on a San Pedro de Atacama pub crawl on getting back to the hostel, but I was in bed by 9pm. Traveling is hard work, but someone has to do it;-)