Salar de Uyuni - Day 4

Trip Start May 12, 2013
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68
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Trip End Jul 30, 2013


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Flag of Bolivia  , Uyuni,
Sunday, July 21, 2013

It was cold in the night and I had to try my best to stay warm in bed. Got up at 630, and had breakfast at 7. The snowstorm seemed to have subsided for awhile, and our cook told us we had to eat fast as we had to leave before the storm returned. Set our bags onto the jeep, and set off at 730am. The skies were clear, but one could still see a brewing storm in the mountains behind us. All the jeeps have left the village together, and formed a beeline out of the village. We stopped along the way to ensure no jeeps were left behind. Once we got out of the village into the plains, the snow was scattered across the ground by the wind, so there was no problem getting the jeep to run over it.

We decided to end the tour today as planned, but in the evening instead, and head straight to the Salar, skipping the few lagoons along the way. The lagoons seemed average from afar in any case. After an hour or so of driving, we arrived at a different landscape similar to that of a rocky canyon. Here, there were interesting rock formations caused by weathering. The most remarkable would be a rock that looked like the World Cup and a hole in the middle of a rock segment,

We stopped for lunch at a small desert town. Our cook had prepared the meal beforehand. There was salad and chickpeas with rice. Tasted good for a quick meal.

After lunch we drove straight towards the salt flats. We arrived at around 2pm. There was no need to keep to the 'roads'. There was none. Our jeep could drive in any direction the driver wanted in the flat terrain. We stopped to take photos, and experimented with many funny shots. The landscape was amazing. As we were in the dry season, the ground was filled with hexagonal shaped salt. The vast salt flat meant that the white ground and the clear blue skies met at the horizon.

We visited the Fish Island. There was no fish there, but giant cactuses which grew to almost 10m in height. The island was right smack in the middle of the salt flats, and we could see the surrounding landscape from the top of the island.

After that, we met our friends from the other jeep somewhere in the salt flats for group photos. Also visited the salt museum, which had furniture and buildings made of salt, and saw piles of salt at the edge of the salt flats waiting to be harvested. Watched as the sunset at the horizon, before heading towards Uyuni.

Along the way, we could not see Uyuni as it was pitch black except for car headlights. We thought we must be far away from the town. Soon we entered a near deserted town with no lighting at all, and our driver told us this was Uyuni. He wasn't kidding. Apparently the wind had knocked down some power lines and the entire town was in blackout.

Our driver took us to the bus agencies to buy our bus ticket for Calama, Chile. As there was no power, candles was used in the small office for work. To our shock, the staff told us she only had 3 tickets for Calama. We tried to find another agency but that was the only one. Thankfully when we went back to check again, there were 4 seats but they were separated - we would gladly take that and get the hell out of this country.

We parted farewell with Max and Froilan, our guide. Checked into a B40 hostel located at the bus station area. Had dinner across the street when the lights finally came on. Went back to have a lukewarm shower, and packed our bags to leave Bolivia

Uyuni, Bolivia
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