This morning, we woke up at 3:30AM to go to see the highest and largest concentration of geyser in the world! The ride was bumpy and as we rode on, it got colder and colder. I checked my altimeter to realized that we are close to 4400m and it was freezing. Jonathan and Olivia only had our slippers and thin sweater and no one had a glove.
When we got to the Tatio Geyers at 6:30AM, the sky was just starting to turn lighter but we can see all around us smoke from hundreds of small and big geysers. We walked around and got real close to them. We can feel the smoke, smell the sulfur, hear the roaring sounds
, see the variety of mineral colors, and just take in the grandness of the place.
It was however very cold. We warmed our hands and bare feet by putting them right on the geyser.
Jonathan one time got so close that he burned his hands and feet a little.
When the sun came out, the air began to warm and we had breakfast picnic next to the geysers. Then the fun began, as there is a hot spring pool right in the middle of all the geysers that one can swim. We didn`t know ahead of time to bring swimming trunk but we so much want to warm up in this hot pool after such a cold morning that we all went in with our underwear. It was so nice...It`s hard to imagine that we were swiming at the altitude of 4400m, next to the geysers and snow mountains. Praise the Lord.
On the way back, we saw wild llamas and many different kinds of birds.
, We also stopped by a village and had llama meat BBQ for the first time. The meat was tender but is very lean and supposely good for those with cholestrol.
We rested in the afternoon since we woke up so early and that same night we were going to go star gazing from 7:30 to 10:30PM.
Why star gazing in San Pedro of all places? Given it is the driest desert in the world, it can go 365 without any clouds to obscure the stars. It is also 2500m high, with no pollution or lights from nearby cities, the stars can be seen more clearly. There are some large telescope that are or will be stationed here. But the most important reason is that in San Pedro lived a French man Allen who is an incredible astronomy enthusiest who has such excitment when he talks about the stars and who has the most powerful laser pointer I have ever seen. When he points with the laser to the star, it looks like a very long Jedi lightsaber and we felt we are watching a star show. His home has a open hole on the roof and right under the open roof is a hammock where one can watch the star to one´s content.
Although it was expensive it was worth every peso of it! Jonathan learned many things he never had before, such as how the months were determined for the zodiac, the difference between northern and southern hemisphere stars, the path on the sky that planets travel, and how to recognized the many different constellations. An interesting fact was that San Pedro, Chile is directly opposite of Hong Kong!
We also got to use a varieties of 7-9 telescopes to view star clusters, planets, moon, and other phenonmens. We even can use the telescope to take pictures of the moon and saturn.
The kids had most fun as this is so new for them. I guess this is part of the science for their homeschooling. We all determined to do more star grazing when we are living in the village 4 months from now.
1) We went with Colque tour agency for the Geyser Tour which we didn´t have much complaint. It was 14,000 Pesos per person and I was able to bargain for 45,000 for the whole family.
2) To watch the star, it costed 12,000 per adult and 6,000 per child. Together, I was able to bargain for 40,000 for the whole family. www.spaceobs.com.