Monday, 27 August 2012

Day 13 - Unlucky for some? by Jamie Grieg

Our last day in Parinacota started in much the same way as previous days, with the standard Chilean greeting of “TE, CAFE, EXTRA?” from the ‘Gruffalo’. We were all getting the hang of the Chilean breakfast scene and the sight of pale circular meat products did not course much alarm, though the announcement from Victor and his female colleague that we must be on the bus by 08:30 (~10minutes time) caused a slight panic. By 9 we were on the coach and moving, with my day being improved somewhat by the driver mistaking me for Leonardo Dicaprio. After a short stop at Lake Chungara which consisted of a group photo of us all trampling over protected habitats we were at the Chilean border crossing. A few cheeky manoeuvres got us past the queue of around 40 trucks and were in the no-man’s land between the two crossings. It was at this point that Luke decided his contraband smuggling reputation must go no further and he launched around a kilo of Chile’s finest cheese out of the window and into the desert. This turned out to be an unnecessary manoeuvre as it was discovered a bar of chocolate and a wink is enough to get 30 people’s worth of expedition nosh through Bolivian customs! We were greeted in Sajama by Marco who had organised our guide, accommodation and equipment for Sajama and the team quickly busied themselves with preparations for the climb. Things get serious tomorrow as we begin our ascent of Sajama – good luck to everyone!

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