Trip Start Feb 21, 2006
21Trip End May 25, 2006
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Luckily for us, next to the bus terminal were many different companies which offered to take us to Potosi (3 hours away) with a private car, it just costs twice as much as a bus would, but we wanted out!
It was Dana, Tom and two Bolivians cramped into a small car. Next to Dana sat a smelly Bolivian guy who kept on falling asleep on her.
The ride was hard but we were happy to make it to Potosi
In Potosi we had a 2 hour wait until our bus to Uyuni left, so we went to eat lunch and drank some coffee.
Potosi is 4070 meters high, and so we had a headache.
At 18:30 we boarded our bus, which, because of the strike, was a very old and small one.
The ride to Uyuni took 7 hours, in which the bus got stuck 3 times (in the middle of no where), but finally we arrived to Uyuni at 1:30 am!!!
Uyuni was freezing cold, so we hurried to take a taxi to a hotel, the first one was full (scary feeling), but the second one had room!
We wanted a room with a private bathroom, and told the guy we would pay 100 Bolivians (instead of 120), and he agreed.
Later, two Israelis that we met in Potosi arrived to the same hotel, we told them about our price, and so they told the hotel host they want the same price. The host said we were paying 120!
So we argued for at least 15 minutes (it was like arguing with a wall), and finally he agreed we would pay 110... (which still made us angry).
The next morning, we woke up early, ate breakfast, showered and left in order to book our trip to the Salar (the biggest salt desert in the world).
Uyuni is a ĻdumpĻ - they have no paved roads, only dirt roads and the restaurants are unattractive.
We decided to take the 2 day trip and not the usual 3 day one, because we felt we didnīt have much time.
We also purchased train tickets so that we wouldnīt have to spend more time after the trip.
When we returned to the hotel, there was a female host who asked us to pay for last night (usually we pay only during check out), we told her we would pay tomorrow and she told us it would be 120 and not 110.
The reason she said we would have to pay more is because last night (when we arrived) there was no hot water in the shower...
We got very angry and told her we are leaving and only paying for last night, and that is exactly what we did.
It was easy to find another hotel right next to the train station.
At night, it was so freezing that we couldnīt fall asleep!!!
The next morning, at about 11:00, we got on our jeep with 5 other people and headed off to the Salar desert.
In the jeep, we were with a couple from New Zealand and South Africa, a couple from Peru and Denmark and another guy from Peru
Once we arrived to the desert itself, we were amazed. It is like a huge area (beyond the eyes can see) of flat white land. At first, it looks like snow, but then you see it is not soft as snow.
It is also impossible to be there without sun glasses, the ground is too bright because it reflects the sun.
Also, because everything is white and flat, it is hard for the human eye to calculate distance, and so, there is an effect that everything looks like it is close to each other, only either too big or too small.
Of course, only the Israelis keep on taking pictures that take advantage of this effect...
Our first stop was where a local town collects the salt (for commercial use), they pile it up in small pyramids, and because there are hundreds of pyramids, it looks very cool.
The second stop was at a place they call ĻOjos de Salar,Ļ which means the eyes of the salar. It is the only area in the whole Salar that there is a small amount of water (directly in the Salar). The cool thing is that because of the salt, there is some chemical reaction that causes the water to bubble.
Our third stop was at the salt hotel, which is a small hotel that is built entirely out of salt, including the furniture.
Our forth stop was at a small hill covered with cactus plants in the middle of the salar. It looks as if the salar is a sea and this hill is an island.
We took a small hike on this hill to see a nice view of the endless salar while our cook prepared us lunch.
We actually ate Lama for lunch, which was very tasty!
Our final stop for the day was at a volcano, which is where our hostel for the night was.
The area is very nice, and they grow lots of Lamas there, which was very cool to see.
The hostel itself wasnīt that nice, at first, we didnīt have water, only between 19:00 and 21:00 did they turn on the generator for lights and some water.
We saw the nice sunset, had a nice chicken meal, didnīt shower, only brushed our teeth and went to sleep
The next morning, Tom woke up with the others to view the sunrise at 6:30, Dana kept on sleeping. The sunrise was very nice, the Salar had different colors, it was great.
After eating breakfast, we all went to climb the volcano, which wasnīt very exciting.
When we got down, we all ate lunch and left to Uyuni.
We arrived at 19:00 to Uyuni, quickly checked into a hotel and went to eat some Pizza!
At the pizza place, we met a very cool Argentinian guy, who is a tour guide in all of South America.
His name was Erico and he knew English very well.
We was a very hyper guy, who talked outloud the whole time, but it was very interesting to hear what he had to say
He told us his father was tortured and kicked out of Argentina (to Brazil) during the Military Revolution they had in the late 70īs.
He explained about what happened back then, and how Argentina is treating this case today, it really was a hard story, and he says that today he and many others protest against this.
He told us to watch a movie called ĻImagine ArgentinaĻ with Antonio Banderas, which is about this period.
We then went to rest in our hotel and at 3:00 am went on our train to a town called Villazon, in southern Bolivia.
The train ride was a hard one, it was cold and uncomfortable, the Bolivians next to us smelled really bad and snored very loudly and, as usual, there was a baby who didnīt stop crying.