The salt plains and lagunas of Uyuni

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
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Trip End Dec 13, 2006


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Monday, March 21, 2005

We spent an amazing few days travelling by jeep through the Salt plains of Uyuni and beyond. We set off in our 4WD Toyota (Paul, Mandy, Debs, Russell, Lauren, Yuigi and Zak) with our driver and headed firstly to the Train Cemetery (full of rusted old trains) and then onto a small village at the outskirts of the Salar de Uyuni. This was where we saw lots of kids and they posed for us in front of one of the rusting old cars.. in exchange for sweets!! We then headed through the salt plains which were absolutely breathtaking. Ever since I had seen Judith Chalmers on a trip through them on Wish you were here I have always wanted to see them for myself and managed to drag Paul along with me... The salt just looks like snow and you can see the snow capped mountains in the distance, when you take a picture it looks like you're superimposed on it as it doesn't look real. The next place we visited was the Isla Pescado which is in the middle of the salt plain and has 1000 year old huge cactii growing on it. Apparently they grow at 1 cm a year and the oldest one there was 1203 years old. At about 5pm we stopped at the Salt Hotel where we were to sleep for the night.. it was pretty nice and the building was completely made of salt. Russell, Debs, Lauren, Paul and I had a good night chatting and drinking and the owners made us a nice hot meal which was gratefully eaten in the coldness (as it was so high it was really cold at night). The next day we set out to see a few lakes with flamingos on them which was really nice to see.. it was surprising to see those snow capped mountains in the distance too. The scenery changed every hour, with reds, browns, yellows and lots of other earthy colours that made up deserts, mountains and hills. At one point we stopped at a place where volcanic rock had formed the shape of a tree which was really cool. We stopped at Laguna Colorado for the night which was freezing cold and the dorm style room we stayed in was very basic to say the least so we got out the cards and bought the local rum and had a few drinks to try and warm us up and help us sleep. There were various smells that night from certain windy people that I won't mention in the travellog but it all added to the fun we had that night!! On the third day we were up at 430am to be gone by 5am and we visited Geysers where the hot mud was bubbling away and then we wnet to the hot springs which were so hot and lovely.. just like a bath.. no swimming costumes though so we went in in our underwear (local style). The problem was when you got out it was freezing!! We then visited Laguna Verde which is only green when there is lots of wind as the wind stirs up the copper in the water making it appear green. However since the lake was so still we got a fantastic picture of the volcano and it's reflection in the water. The last thing we did was say a fond farewell to some of the others in our group and headed across into Chile.. our 14th country so far on our travels.
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