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Pablo requested an ‘Office day’ at the Hotel, preparing a proposal for his contact with CONAF in Copiapoa, so Angie and I went for a Sunday’s spin to improve on the pictures that we already have from so many previous trips and for a coffee in Paposo.

First stop was along R1, the coast road where a guano covered island made an attractive back drop for rocks full of Copiapoa haseltonia.

Next on to the ‘Virgin above Paposo’ for an update on the Copiapoa humilis plants there and at Eulychnia taltalensis which in 2013 were reported to have been affected by snow and ice! Yes, they looked pretty well beaten up, stems badly marked and broken off, but really, nothing different then in the past but this time with the changes having occured since our visits. There were plenty of new healthy offsets from the older, battered stems, signs that nature here is used to regeneration after hard times.

Back down to Paposo where a small restaurant – little more than somebody’s living room – sold us a cup of coffee each.

Next on to the Paposo cemetary – today it was ‘All Saint’s’ day – the day of the Dead, where relatives clean, maintain and leave flowers on the graves of deceased relatives. It was a very colourful touching sight in the barren desert next to a power station (? or is it a sulphuric acid plant?). Rest in Peace takes on a new meaning with this contraption humming away constantly.

It was still early, so we decided to check out the condition of the road north, towards Botija. In 2013 it had been paved for some 18 – 20 km. This time the surface had deteriorated a little but the graded road now went a lot farther. We got to the point where the road crew seemed to have lost interest and managed to get back to Taltal in time for dinner. Would Club Taltal be open tonight? They seemed to have had some problems in the kitchen and had remained closed without a word of explanation. In the absence of real news, a rumour suggested that alcoholic drink had been the cause of the closure – unlikely, but without concrete news, harmful rumours can spread easily.

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