All 32 of the expedition members arrived on time at heathrow with just one flat tyre between us. So far, so good, and there's much excitement in the air. Most of us with the notable exception of the exped leader Naomi, are wearing our striking blue 'Expedition Altiplano' t-shirts with the Alpaca emblem (soon to be our lunch).
The long journey ahead was fairly uneventful until the baggage carousel at Santiago airport failed to produce approximately half the luggage and equipment. Oh and then there was the sniffer dog incident with Tereza and the contraband agricultural produce incident with Luke.
We've been assured that the missing baggage will be delivered to the hotel in Arica tomorrow (29th), if not then there will be some considerable hurdles to overcome, not least of which will be making it to 6500m in a pair of trainers.
Luke's apple however will not be joining us in Arica because it has been resolutely destroyed by 'chemical reaction' (although this could be code for human metabolism). Luke somehow avoided paying a $200 fine for the smuggling of the fruit. We're not sure how he avoided paying the fine. He was missing for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile Tereza had successfully distracted the drug sniffer dog by making friends with it, but the fruit sniffer dog was not so easily duped and made a b-line straight for her hand luggage, closely followed by the Chilean Fruit and Veg Police. Tereza also narrowly avoided a fine and possibly a good 'fruiting' in the stocks.
The journey now continues from Santiago to Arica by air and we will see how much of our luggage follows.