Sunday, November 1, 2015

Arica to San Pedro de Atacama

This is Mike...
The desolation of the desert was surreal.
We arrived late in Arica because the Peruvian border guard screwed up in the north and caused a delay when crossing in the south. I have always been amazed about the power of an arbitrary line in the sand. They can be powerful examples of how governments conduct themselves. We have seen shameless examples of how governments work like in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador to name a couple. We have also seen tremendous examples of leadership like Panama, Colombia and Nicaragua for instance.  What is the difference? Why is one country better managed than its neighbor? For us we noticed a stark difference between Peru and Chile and funny thing is we liked Peru a lot. Maybe it is as simple as bringing as many people into the fold of prosperity as possible which creates a synergy of growth? Or maybe it is building codes and planning departments? The answer will probably remain elusive for the remainder of our lives but somethings are different between neighboring countries.
    Below are some pictures from our drive between Arica, on the Pacific coast to San Pedro de Atacama in the high plains and passing through the driest place on earth. By the way the drive took us nearly 8 hours to do and gasoline stations are about 190 miles apart so don't start the drive with half a tank at any point or you will run out of gas.

The land was so dry that it cracked and undulated, creating its own texture.

The Geoglyphs, as they are called because they are so large on the mountain sides. This was just outside the driest place on earth which gives this whole area a new dimension of appreciation.

The mine tailings of the largest copper mine in the world.

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