MY FAVOURITE DAY – San Pedro Cycling

one of my favourite days

 

the rain sculpts everything, she said
Met Yolan on the bus, learnt a little (more) about German education, various laws, religion
Unfortunately, as I was told, a snowstorm had blocked the immigration entry to Bolivia from Chile, and under the snowy conditions the gate was blocked, and many tour groups cancelled or postponed their tour. After asking around, I found that some tour groups insisted the gates would be open if we waited until a later timing because the snow would melt; others said it’s dangerous because of the road conditions. What should I do? Should I proceed to stick to my schedule / venture ahead, despite these supposed ‘dangerous road conditions’ or should I just wait another day? I wasn’t even sure if these ‘dangerous road conditions’ were real, because other tour groups said they werent operating because it was low season and they had few numbers and manpower. Who’s lying? Who’s telling me the truth? What should I do????After hemming and hawing for a couple of hours (yeah… bugged me for quite a while) I decided to take the uyuni tour tomorrow. On hindsight it was the right choice, of course! Though I’m still unsure who’s lying. I went ahead with the uyuni tour despite other operators highlighting the snowy road conditions (like the day before) but I couldn’t stay here for a week or so. I went ahead and all was well-

Back to my third (and incidental) day in San Pedro, which turned out to be one of the best days ever, and because it was an unexpected turnout, that amplified the value of this memory

today was amazing in many ways and here i collected one of my favorite moments
i love cycling within nature because i feel free and happy
on further thought i think i love moving through the roads in open air – on motorbikes, in lorries, in bicycles – it is in these moments that i feel infinite, riding with the wind
today i met yolan and his friends for cycling
in the end only both of us went ahead, because Katie was unwell
we collected the locks, the extra tyre, the pumps, the headlights, the bicycles
and about 245pm we were off! cycling towards the diablo valley place based on the map given by the bike operator
it was a beautiful day – i had never seen valleys like this, not this close, maybe in pictures or movies; but cycling through these valleys – i felt a surge of joy
bumpy roads, crossed rivers, took off shoes at a point to get across, felt the ice-cold river chill my feet
how is there even a river in the driest desert in the world? well apparently it rained the night before we arrived
still!

beautiful day, beautiful day

look at those volcanoes behind – such a breathtaking view

so dry

muy bonito

then we dropped our bikes and hiked up the valley at one point
at various points i thought, i know someone who will love this
reached the peak, waited for the sunset
there was absolutely no one around us
you could holler towards the gaping valley and hear your voice echo back
so this is what they mean, this is what they were representing – i think to myself
i have seen people doing this in movies, read about it in books, but this was the first time i hollered into a gaping canyon of sorts and heard my voice echo back

love, love the undulating terrains

most beautiful view ever

 

the sun started to set; the sky started to release its multitude of colours
i got a little nervous – were we sure we wanted to stay and cycle even after the sun sets? after all, we were in the middle of the atacama desert – there was no one around us, the other cyclists had gone back
joked several times about rationing my water – what if we had to camp at night because we got lost
and i am extremely poor with my directions

at that moment scenes of backpackers getting lost within mountains, unfound, and the movie 127 hours, they flashed through my head

yolan said he was confident of heading back, and he hiked several mountains at night, so i decided… i could survive 24hours only eating 2 biscuits, i’ll be fine and at the worst of it, there’ll be some cyclists the next morning
still, at the peak the conversation was as such:
me: i had better not finish all my food……. we might need it tonight
him: yeah, i am not sure if we’ll get out…. maybe our headlights won’t have enough battery
he laughs,
i laugh along nervously
and we watched the sun go down

it was beautiful

by the time we got down the last of the sun was disappearing and it was getting cold
our bikes were still there, woohoo! collected, turned on headlights and cycled
out of the valley
out onto the road

there you see the stars in the distance
a sky full of stars
the moon brightly beaming from above
i felt myself gasp at its beauty

yolan turned off his headlight, and i followed
we continued cycling
illuminated by the moonshine
under the stars
we were silent
it felt amazing, incredibly beautiful
and i thought, wow, i cycled in the atacama desert, through its valleys, witnessed its sunset and the stars
and i am 23
i hope i still have a lot of time to do awesome things (like this) in life
i hope i don’t get stuck in a job, in my dictated lifestyle
i hope i remember to have moments like this – moments like this when i feel alive
(of course, i think my definition of this is likely to change with time – maybe when i see my child graduate, make something incredible, that would be my way of garnering the same feeling)
still, i had a lovely day
and i love days like this, one that could have been so ordinary, so mundane
and instead it is one that i will remember always

Astronomy tour at San Pedro, supposedly one of the best places in the world for stargazing

we used our iphones to take photos of the moon through their high-tech telescopes

(not bad for the focus of a broken iphone 4)

 

look at those craters! -shudders-

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