Through the Andes (7-May)

I know that so far I have kept the habit of writing one post per place I've been staying at... but this bus trip through the Andes has been a real experience for me, a in addition I'm planning to stay quite a long time in San Pedro de Atacama and won't publish much for a few days.

I know that so far I have kept the habit of writing one post per place I've been staying at... but this bus trip through the Andes has been a real experience for me, a in addition I'm planning to stay quite a long time in San Pedro de Atacama and won't publish much for a few days. This bus trip started in Salta at 8am and it was due to arrive at 4pm (5pm argentinian time in San Pedro de Atacama). I was a little bit afraid of this trip cause I had been reading on Internet that it was going at high altitude (4600 or 4900m if I remember correctly)... but I had read so many great reviews about this trip being an unforgettable experience seeing those landscapes that I had decided to do it. To summarize it, I have not been disappointed... nor for its good sides than its bad sides. After a few hours in the argentinian plain (at 1200m), the bus started to climb in the Andes. I was playing some game on my PSP at that time and got completely stuck by the landscapes I was seeing... (which made me lose in the game I was playing btw :P) Every 5 minutes the landscape was changing, different colors, different shapes... everything was so magical. And the bus kept climbing, climbing... before going down in a valley (at 4200m still :P) where lay a salar. I published some photos in the galleries (link below), and even if they are not so good (they were taken from the moving bus) it should give you an idea on how things were. Magic. After a while the bus started to climb again and then I started to get the altitude sickness. This started with some nauseas, then I started to sweat (my clothes got really wet)... but finally this disappeared when we reached the argentinian border. Sadly this started again just a few minutes later as we started to climb again... And I don't remember having felt so sick in my life. I had nausea, huge headache... but mostly I got vertigo, I could not at all stand up, and even staying in my chair proved to be a very difficult task and I almost passed out 2 times. I just could not move, could not do anything to improve things. I was just trying to ask to my muscles to work so that I did not to fall from my seat, to concentrate not to pass out... I felt like dying. After a while I started to feel better as the bus started its descent, though I definitely could not move. And I realized most of the persons around me in the bus were in similar condition: many had adopted the only "comfortable" position I had found, head resting on the front seat, there skins were white (even those of tanned south american people), and I think the girl in front of me had passed out. Actually this girl took a lot more time than me to recover so I guess it must have been worse for her... though I have no idea what could be worse so I suppose she passed out. The bus assistant started to walk between the chairs asking how people were... I could not talk yet but was better. Then we reached the border in San Pedro de Atacama and left the bus... At that time I felt exhausted and feverish but OK. This trip was definitely an unforgettable experience for me... and strangely I do not regret having done it. I will always remember the magical landscape and how bad I felt... and even right now tears are feeling my eyes when I think about it. And don't worry, I'm fine now... and resting in an hostal in San Pedro de Atacama (2600m) for something like 5 days. :)

Photos here

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