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Road to Uyuni

BOLIVIA | Wednesday, 18 July 2007 | Views [464] | Comments [1]

Holy God. That was brutal.

So it all started after a night out that lasted until nearly 9am. Breakfast, restless sleep until 5pm, met up with Matt (the Aussie guy I met in Cusco who had his hair braided and had arranged this tour with) and his 3 friends, Alex, Vicky, and Kelly, around 6, and BAM! Onto the coldest 13-hour bus ride of my life. Literally, there was a layer of ice on the inside of the windows. Inside. Slept most of the day, dinner, and then we all played Uno and card games for a couple of hours until bed. It must have looked hilarious- we were all wearing hats, gloves, and sitting on our beds using a chair as a table, wrapped in sleeping bags...it looked like we were in some camp in Alaska or the Northwest Territories!

So we got up at 9 the next morning to get in our jeep, loaded up our things, and set off. We stopped  at the train cemetery to take photos- out in the desert there's this area piled with rusty old trains and train skeletons, and they are awesome to take pictures of/with/in! After endless posing and playing (it's like a playground for adults! You get to climb and play all over them like a jungle-gym) we proceeded to the salt flats for a couple of hours. It's mind-blowing! Like first of all, my brain could not wrap around the fact that it is NOT snow. It looks like it, it's cold, it even sounds like it when you crunch it! It goes on forever, sometimes it hits blurry mountains, sometimes it keeps going until it reaches stark blue sky. We spent forever getting some perspective shots (like the one above), and running around just playing. It's so wild.

We then drove for hours over the ceaseless white, which is way more amazing once you leave the gathering area we were before; when there are no other people anywhere it's just unreal. Pulled up at our salt hotel for the night, which was crazy; the bed frames, tables, chairs, walls, lamps, and floor are all salt. Comfy mattresses, though, and not too chilly considering the walls were made of bricks of salt!

Had a great sleep, saw the sun set and rise over the salar, and after that it sort of anticlimaxes...the next two days of the tour were a bit of a let-down. You're literally in the jeep from 6am-4pm, just driving over these HORRIBLE mountain "roads", 4x4ing all day, and man does it do a number on your ass-back-stomach! We did stop a number of times though, and got to see red lakes, loads of flamingos (FLAMINGOS IN THE ANDES!), insane rock formations, and really cool mountains.

Our company, however...definitely not very good. Blueline tour operators. The guide and cook were sweet, and the agent seemed great, but we ended up feeling very frustrated. After explaining twice that I was vegetarian, and the agent assuring us great veggie food, we ended up with NO vegetarian meals. Well one, with pasta so undercooked none of us could even eat it (and one girl got sick) and tomato sauce from a can. Lunch was literally plain rice with a side of sliced cucumber and tomato, with coca cola. The final lunch was half-cooked pasta with some strange flavorless sauce and cut-up hot dogs in it. They overbooked our hotel the second night so we ended up at a hotel with concrete walls, the "restaurant" had one aluminum wall, fiberglass roof, the beds were literally slabs of concrete with 2 inches of foam mattress on top, there was a big hole in the bathroom floor I almost fell in and broke my everything...oh man. It was definitely...different. -20 degrees celcius at night. Thank god they had a bottle of pisco for sale, as we all drank until we were drunk and warm enough to sleep. Yeah, it was trip.

Basically it was amazing, but I would never ever ever do it again. But I'd still recommend it (just make sure you go with a good company)! Glad I went, but I'm happy to leave!

Tags: adventures



I was overjoyed when i received your postcard 2 days ago. Mom and dad are back with lots of pics of Kamloops with them and mom and dad #2. I will be in kamloops from the 19-22 of august, hopefully I will see you in that frame of time. If not danm it i'll drive you to GP myself if i have to. I miss you lil sis. I totally thought of the cutting edge to the day before I got your card. "Foreplay"! Anyways love those salt feilds and train graveyard sound spectacular. I cant wait to see your pictures it sounds amazing. Well little sis i gotta get back to reality but i love you and i am so happy that you are finally following your dreams. God Bless.

  Laurie Joyce ( Jul 21, 2007 2:44 AM

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