Not far from the border we come upon the Salar de Tara which is the largest of the seven part Chilean National Reserve "Los Flamencos".
I would have liked the bus to come closer and stop for a few minutes to observe the multitude of flamencos but I knew I would have other occasions to watch these strange birds. Flamencos are indeed strange for they are the only bird, or animal as far as I know, that always eats with its head upside down. They filter minute marine organisms through a unique set of lamellae in their bill.
The altiplano at almost 4000 m, is occasionally punctuated by a mountain like the 5698 m Cerro Redondo shown here.
Breathing is difficult at this altitude for an old geezer like me.
I think this one is called Cerro Tocco but I am not sure.
Here is a small lagoon that could dissapear or grow to become a salar someday.
The mountain peaks on the horizon delineate the border with Bolivia.
Here again are the border mountains on the other side of the laguna.
The massive Cerro Juriques and the pointed Cerro Licancabur mark the border with Bolivia.
Here is a better view of the 5916 m Cerro Licancabur.
It's a small world and Quebecers love travelling so I was delighted but not surprised to meet Joelle Breton and André Lemay in the Salta terminal as we boarded the bus for the 12 hour ride to get here. It was easy, I recognised their Quebec accent.
After washing off the salty road dust, we enjoyed a hearty meal complete with Andean musical show at the "Casa Pedra" for a very reasonable price.
Here is the Andean band and the fire pit in the restaurant's open patio. A very pleasant evening indeed! Breathing is easier here at 2470 m than at 4000 m on the high puna..
We had planned to meet on the next day but our paths did not cross so we did our sightseeing separately. I had to choose a tour operator for my trip to Uyuni while they made arrangements for the rest of their trip.
The church of San Pedro is an unavoidable target for the amateur photographer.
San Pedro is visited by too many tourists but some streets have retained the charm caracteristic of small mountain villages.
Caracoles street is the main business centre in town. It is quiet now in the midday heat but it will liven up after sunset when crowds of tourists invade its bars and restaurants.
Finally, just before cossing into Bolivia, here are once again the beautiful 5916 m Licancabur and 5710 m Juriques volcanoes.