I usually lick windows not walls

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
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Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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Where I stayed
Hotel de Sal Samarikuna

Flag of Bolivia  , Potosí,
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

After hearing one of the groups leave at 04:30 I was ready to get up so by 5:30ish I was outside watching the sunrise. By this stage the toilets (shared by men and women) were covered in god knows what and truly stunk. We had a breakfast of very stale bread and dulche de leche and coca tea, I washed down a few paracetamol and my tablets and felt much better, the headache started to disappear and it was a relief to see that our experienced mountaineer and photographer hadn't slept because of the pains of altitude sickness.

Erica however was completely fine. The state of the place we had stayed in everyone thought we would be eaten by bedbugs but thankfully none of us had any symptoms at all.  The tiger bed spreads were actually very comfortable.

We were in the jeep and back on the road by about 07:20, we saw a few amazing lagoons with lots more flamingos, the famous rock tree which we were told by Rocco is millions of years old (but then again I don’t think we have had a single truth yet we were promised double rooms last night!), we even ended up climbing some of the rocks which were unthinkable yesterday. The landscape here is truly amazing and it is difficult really to write a lot I guess it’s better that we upload a load of pictures to give you a flavour.
 
Also of note today the jeep broke down maybe 5 times, despite Rocco guaranteeing a jeep less than two years old ours must be about 15 but to be fair our driver must know how to fix everything, he even managed to repair a problem with the clutch today and at one point I thought he had disappeared into the engine. Erica took a picture of him which we liked so much he has asked us to send to him. 

For lunch we stopped in a tiny remote village, we stopped at someones house and had soup, followed by llama and salad and rice which was all good. Next we headed down the valley where our lunch had been sourced from. It was really weird with all the surrounding arid landscape just a small stream which has grown grass around it supporting huge heards of llama and other animals.

We headed into a couple more villages which after seeing one village the others aren’t quite as interesting, they are generally built of mud bricks with mud and straw roofs (adobe) although the newer have corrugated tin. At one point we had to pass another truck that had crashed and it only left a couple of inches on either side between hitting the jeep or falling off the edge of the road ourselves. Our driver made us all get out at this stage which is nice he is thinking of our safety.

We finally managed to make it to our accommodation for the night, a modern hostel type place made more or less entirely of salt, the wall are salt, the beds are salt, the floors are crumbled salt, we all licked the walls just to check. We had been warned off the salt hotels as they are dumping poo in the salt flats however Rocco had guaranteed we wouldn’t be staying there and this does seem too new to be one of the old environmental disasters.

Despite the lack of sleep last night everyone was looking forward to a bit of a drink tonight and as our last night of this tour it needs to be done.  The Bolivian wine is very good and at 3 pounds a bottle between 6 it is affordable too even though we are a captive market. 

Still as amazing as this trip has been we are looking forward to washing our clothes, ourselves and having those little luxuries like internet and running water. Tomorrow we will be dropped off in Uyuni where we have to make some quick and bold decisions. We really don’t have enough time to do what we want to do in Bolivia, similarly though we do not want to backtrack 20 hours each way to complete what we have missed. Oh well life can be a bitch sometimes.

We gathered for dinner and this time there was no wine in sight only water and tea.  We were brought out some dry crackers and then as we were starting to think that that actually was the sum total of dinner out came the chicken pieces, great.  Only that there were only 10 small pieces of chicken between 11!  Oh and we got one slice of fried potato each – we were so shocked that it was ridiculous – some people attempted to fill up on dry bread. 

Andre kindly bought a bottle of Bolivian wine that we shared (it was really good) and Kieron supplied a bottle of beer.  Another table had gone to bed and left a quarter of a bottle of wine so Will mineswept it and we had that too as everyone else had gone to bed.  Rocco had a lot to answer for as we finally went to bed with rumbling stomachs.
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