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Iain and Jo

Pass the salt please

BOLIVIA | Wednesday, 13 May 2009 | Views [1229] | Comments [5]

We’re in Tupiza, Bolivia after an amazing three-day 4x4 trip across the Altiplano and Salt Flats from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. The scenery in this area is crazy (we really need to find somewhere ugly for a few days so we can appreciate the landscapes again).

The Altiplano is a huge plateau in the middle of the Andes which is mostly between 3500 and 4500 metres above sea level – weird stuff happens at this altitude, like toiletries exploding, headaches and shortness of breath, and unfortunately, beers having ridiculously big heads on them (lucky in a way, because hangovers are also worse so we’re staying away from alcohol)

We read some worrying reviews about the 4x4 trip from other travellers in San Pedro, saying that some of the drivers drink and some groups have even had to drive themselves because the driver wasn’t up to it. We picked a company that had really good feedback though and ended up in a group of 12 (really lucky to find such a good bunch - we’re still travelling with six of them now even though the tour finished a few days ago). The first two days of the trip were trouble-free and took us through some really beautiful, remote areas spotted with volcanoes, brightly coloured lagoons, flamingoes and Vicunas (like wild llamas).

(Note to the mums... please skip the next paragraph)

On the second night though, our two drivers went out and were busted stumbling home at 2am, absolutely legless. At 4:30am when we were all due to get up and head off, they were still sleeping off their hangovers (or maybe were just still liquored). So we woke them up and had a really tense meeting with them (luckily we had a few good Spanish speakers to take the lead) which started really aggressively with them threatening to leave us and us threatening to report them, but eventually we all calmed down and they agreed to wait a few hours and then drive slowly.

As we got in the car, our driver put Bob Marley on (a welcome change after two days of panpipes), and we cracked up laughing when the first song came on: “Get up, Stand up, Stand up for your rights”. The driver didn’t really get the joke, but we explained when the next song came on: “Every little thing is gonna be alright”. In the end we were just laughing about it, particularly when we arrived safely at our first stop and the other drivers started teasing ours about being late. We had only seen one car all morning, but he replied with “Un Poquito Tarde. Mucho Traffico” (A little bit late... There was a lot of traffic). But it was worth it, the salt flats were just incredible, hard white salt as far as you can see, combined with brilliant blue skies – lets just say, there are a lot of photos!

Now we´re in Tupiza is where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were killed, and the area really feels like the set of a western. It’s surrounded by cactus-filled desert and red-rock canyons, and just needs a few tumbleweeds to complete the scene. We went for a 3-hour horse ride through incredible canyons today before spending the afternoon relaxing by the hostel pool with our new mates from the tour – it´s a hard life!

ps. More pics when we get to a city with faster internet

Tags: bolivia tupiza altiplano




You'd be lucky. This Mum reads everything. Iain didn't I tell you about "The effects of Alcohol?" Or perhaps it was the other way round!!! Love you both anyway.

  Jenny May 13, 2009 6:39 PM


I must be tired...it took me a moment to understand why you'd called it "pass the salt please.."..I thought it would have something to do with tequila shots, (and judging by your drivers..it could have!) Fantastic story! ( i assume sisters were allowed to read it).

  jo May 14, 2009 9:54 PM


Finally found you, Aggie told me about this, Mark emailed the details. It's been a struggle to read about all your travels, (I have just come home from the local footy & a few JB's ect) but I've enjoyed it and happy you both seem to be well and OK.
May your news be good news,

Lv dad.

  The Big Dude May 16, 2009 5:16 PM


Amazing guys...love the pics too!

While you guys were relaxing by the pool Luke learnt to say Dad, Daddy and Dada. Needless to say Liz is taking poorly.

Keep safe peeps



  Tom May 18, 2009 8:31 AM


Dudes! Finally managed to track you guys down, your yahoo email bounced back. Will keep tabs (very jealously) on you now. Simmy - so sorry i forgot to do the lunch catch up, but i got a promo! So the working thru lunch paid off :)


  Anita May 19, 2009 9:03 PM



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