Salar de Uyuni tour - Day 2

Trip Start Nov 15, 2009
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Friday, March 26, 2010

Today was to be a long day with plenty of stops, which there were more of than day 1 but still heaps of driving on rough terrain.  I think I got a headache from the bumpy dirt tracks rather than the altitude!  The girls were really feeling the altitude today until I told them to take their pills - they were saving then for Machu Picchu, but you just can´t do that with altitude sickness because it just ruins your trip.

Day 2 covered 340km with an altitude of 5000m, so higher than  Day 1.  We visited some ruins, which used to be a silver mining town in the 16th to the 17th century.  the Spanish were there first but then  the Incas came.  They had an agreement to split the proceeds of the silver 50/50 but the Incas got greedy and everyone ended up leaving the town.  We then  visited from afar, volcano Uturuncu, which is 6008m high with a snowy peak.  By this time I'd changed from jeans into shorts and done away with the jacket - altitude + sun = hot! (with the occasional chilly breeze).  We then moved onto a lake called Hedionda Sur that had lots of flamingos feeding and standing on 1 leg as they do! Ha!  Next stop, the aguas calientes (hot springs) for a quick dip (also doubled up as a shower/bath!).  Longer than 20 minutes and you soon started to burn (not because of the hot water, but because of the sun at altitude - am I boring you yet with the same old line?!) 

During lunch we got to know another group - 4 boys from London and from here on in, our jeeps pretty much travelled together.  Lunch was homely - rice, potatoes, beef, veg, avocado, tomatoes & grapes for dessert.

An hours journey to Laguna Verde at 4400m.  The green lake is made up of magnesium & sulphur, so when there is wind the lake is green in colour, when there is no wind, there isn´t really a colour to the lake as the minerals oxidise.  Volcano - Licancabur, at 5950m is still active and is shared by both Chile and Bolivia - in full view behind the green lake - picture postcard stuff!  Along the way to the next stop, we drove through desert where we saw "Vikunos" - something like Bambi!

Onwards to the Geisers sol de Manana at 5000m - here I felt the altitude as a tingling sensation in my fingertips.  I ventured close to the geysers for that Kodak moment, but I got sprayed slightly with sulphur as it was very windy, so I made a quick exit!  I still got some great snaps though.

A quick stop at our accommodation for the night to secure our beds - not as primitive as day 1 but still no showers.  The last stop was the Laguna Colorada at 4270m, literally a red lake with lots of flamingo.  Again, a great photo stop.  We saw some kiwi´s along the way would you believe, and I thought they were only found in New Zealand!.

Day 2 seemed to be proper off roading with the back end of the jeep slipping heaps of times in the desert sand - there will definitely be a few bruises after Day 2.  It was so dusty too!

Once again a wholesome dinner of soup, potatoes, chicken, sweet potato & coco tea.  We also bought a bottle of red - don´t ask me where from as we were in the middle of nowhere with only generators for power.  Anyway, this is where people started getting ill, but thanks to Guillermo´s parents and my own personal stash of aspirin, I came to everyone´s rescue!  Let´s hope everyone is better on day 3.  Armed with the usual nights´ attire of leggings, x2 pairs of socks and a fleece, I then added a second woolen blanket and quilt to the bed for a toasty nights sleep.
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