Pink flamingos and red lakes

Trip Start Jun 16, 2008
Trip End Sep 18, 2008

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Where I stayed
Laguna Colorada

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Thursday, August 7, 2008

We were supposed to get up at 6 to watch the sunrise over the salar but Leno didnīt wake us up until 6.30. In truth, we had set our alarms as well but we figured if he hadnīt come to wake us up, we didnīt want to get out of the warm bed!  Despite sleeping in a salt hotel, it was surprisingly warm overnight. This probably was helped by Leno giving us each a hot water bottle before bed!

There was a another tour group staying the same hotel and there was one grumpy member of the group who was very concerned about the main door being open for 1 minute.  Even when the jeeps were being loaded and the guides didnīt have any spare hands, he would stomp up to the door and slam it shut. When we went outside to take photos of the sunrise, the guy slammed the door again. Grumpy!  We wanted to have a little fun so we had a rather protracted conversation about the location of the sun in front of a slightly open door. Petty we know but it was funny!

After loading up the jeep, we jetted off again to San Juan.  In San Juan there is a necropolis, or a collection of tombs, some still with mummies. The guide at the necropolis could not really explain much about the mummies (apart from the dates ranging from 6000 BC to 1400 AD). The ones we were saw were the more recent ones.  What the guide at the site did tell us was that one day the sun stopped shining and the next day, all the inhabitants of the village were dead. The area was part of the large inland sea and the mummies were actually placed inside large coral growths.

We then jumped back in the jeep for a long drive through some very spectacular volcanic scenery. The colours of the volcanoes (one still smoking) was incredible.

After a short photo stop (together with the jeep convoy), we made our way to a lake where we saw pink flamingos. They are amazing looking birds, despite appearing awkward when taking off and landing.  Time for lunch, prepared by Eugenia.

Another long drive to the stone tree. This ītreeīsits out in the desert and has been shaped over time by the force of strong winds.

We then made our way to Laguna Colorada. Again there were a lot of flamingos. The salt lake is named this way due to itīs red appearance (because of algae) especially when the sun is shining. Unfortunately for us, it was quite overcast but the lake still had a distinctive red appearance which does not come out well in our photos.

The lake has a lot of borax deposits which look like blocks of ice.

After a 15 min drive, we arrived at our lodgings for the evening. This was supposed to be ībasicī accommodation and we expected it to be freezing. Even our driver put on his woolly hat!

Amenities were basic and the temperature did not disappoint. It was freezing! Luckily we had 2 sleeping bags each plus the hot water bottles. (Thanks Leno!)

After huddling around our table with a hot cup of tea, Eugenia served mashed potato and stew. Delicious!  The three kiwis served the stew on top of the potato but the others put the stew on the side of the plate. Cultural differences?!

It was then time to crack open the whiskey that Cherie had brought. It certainly warmed a few of us up!

After chatting for a while, we headed off to bed before the temperature really plummeted.
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