Dropping down around 1400 meters from Bolivia to the Atacama Desert in Chile we stopped at San Pedro de Atacama. A small river comes into the town making it look like an oasis from above. The town square with its Adobe Church has lush trees giving plenty of shade and the whole place has a less chaotic, less half-built feel that you get in towns in Peru and Bolivia, although there are still plenty of stray dogs enjoying the afternoon sun. Still, they all seem to be good humoured.


The Licancaber volcano glowers over the town. We entered the country close to the volcano and drove down the long hill to the plain of the desert. We brought with us a group of Chinese photographers who had been marooned at the border. As the area is reputedly mined it is better to come by car.

Later we walked up to Pukara de Quitor which is a pre Columbian settlement from where I sketched this. The river runs alongside the settlement and probably was the reason why it was established along with a great defensive position. Below us the ribbon of vegetation marks the course of the river. In the background is the Volcano and the Bolivian border.

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