Amazing Salt Flats and Flamingoes!!!

Trip Start Nov 25, 2004
Trip End Jan 26, 2005

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Wednesday, August 3, 2005

We woke up with freezing feet and ran for the hot shower that we didn't want to get out of! Did a bit of last minute shopping, got our exit stamps (even though we wouldn't be leaving until the 5th! Genius eh?, convinced a nice woman to sell us a bag of biscuits with our last remaining currency and then waited & waited & waited & waited!!! Waited some more for the 4x4 which was apparently īJust coming!' and finally got on the road with 'Family France' and a few days of French speaking for me! Excellent! Our first stop was at the train cemetery whioch was literally just that....loads of abandoned rusting engines and carriages just outside Uyuni! Made for great photo opps though with us clambering all over the place and Paul doing his best Thomas the Tank Engine impression! TOOT! TOOT! The best one has to be me tied to the train tracks in true Penelope Pitstop stylie!! Hee hee! And then it was onto the salt flats and WOW! What a mad landscape...all you can see for miles is just salt flat...looking abit like snow with odd vizcunas dotted on the landscape! It certainly strains your eyes though with the glare of the sun as well! We had a quick stop at the salt hotel where everything inside it and the structure itself is made of salt! Quite mad...we were still reeling at the mad landscape outside and attempting to take lots of piccies when a stupid French couple who decided to walk across the one place where everyone was trying to take photos!!!!! Paul very politely asked them to move which they refused to do, so as he picked up a piece of salt Diplomatic Dawn came to the rescue and they just happened to move as well! Phew!

Our next stop was the Islo Pescado - an island in the middle of the salt covered in huge cactus! You could clamber to the top and the views over the salt pan were FAB! We then got creative and headed back onto the salt to try and get the pentagon shaped salt shots that you get on all the postcards! Copy cats we know! This involved me clambering onto Paul's shoulders to try and get height...hee hee!! Great fun and then Paul trying to get a video clip to show the sound that the salt makes when you throw it without success! Don't ask! The rest of the afternoon was spent driving to our hotel for the night which was very cool actuallky with floor to ceiling windows looking out over the salt flats! Paul went for a quick wander and fell foul to a spot of gringo shooting by some local kids! Well he is a scary brute! And after a few games of ping pong with Camille & Mathilde, a beautiful sunset with the salt flat in the end looking like the sea...almost turning a blue colour...and a lovely dinner with our adopted family it was to bed for our first night on the salt flats!!!!

The next morning involved more amazing I know I say this about everywhere we go...but if I was to choose then I think the scenery on this trip was to be the most spectacular that we've seen so far! Without a doubt! Mountains, volcanoes, salt flats, mad rock formations, amazing lakes, vizcunas everywhere! Hmmmm..what do you reckon! Our first stop was at some mad rock formations resembling waves so we had to partake in a spot of rock surfing and then continuing into the most amazing lake dotted with hundreds of flamingoes! We were so lucky as they were right next to the lakeside as well making for perfect photos and the reflections as well...WOW! The next lake we went to was even better as well as all the males were doing their mating dance to the females which involves them all strutting their stuff in a big group making lots of noise!!!!! Sounds like a lads night out at home eh???? A very amusing incident as well when this American guy made a run for it over what looked to be very shallow water and ended up waist deep in mud! Hee Hee! A not so amusing incident straight after was this French guy who decided to throw a stone straight at some baby flamingoes right at the waters edge!!!! OOOOOOOOOHHH we were angry and I was shouting at him in French getting him to stop and in the end Paul had to go up to him and take the rock out of his hand!!!!! I would swear if our Grandmaīs weren't reading this!!!!!

Anyway peace restored, we were back on the road again and I had little Camille waffling in my ear for the rest of the day...bless her...really, really good practice for me though as she was speaking so fast!!!! Reckon the level of my French in the past few days has reached top notch levels again...anyone want to offer me a job where I can speak French! Hint! Hint! After another tyre change (what is it with us and changing tyres!), we headed to a very cool rock that resembles a tree...very photogenic as tree rocks go..abit Salvador Dali like and then the last stop of the day was Laguna Colorado - a red lake with even more flamingoes!!!! Now the temperature was really dropping with the wind as of the lake were frozen apart from this one part where the water was really warm!!!! Spooky eh? And then it was to our very basic accommodation for the night!!!! We joined in some amusing card playing with the Frenchies, had dinner and a bottle of vino to warm our cockles, looked at the stars (WOW!) and then cuddled down for the night in our single bed again! Awwwww! Who said being married isn't romantic!!!

With a very chilly start to the day and a lovely sunrise, we headed for the geysers! Itīs the first time either of us have seen them before so we were both loving it...they were bubbling & steaming all over the place! Then it was off to the hot springs which were heaven on my cold tootsies and Paul just stripped off and jumped in!!!! It was just like a hot bath, I just couldn't face having to get out again into the cold! Family France joined in as well so we had a full representation! And then before we knew it, it was the last part of the tour before our border crossing into Chile...Laguna Blanco and Laguna Verde...with its perfect reflection of the volcano opposite! Nice! We built our very own rock pile to mark the end of our tour and our last day in Bolivia, had a team photo with Family France and then jumped on the bus for our border crossing into Chile! Bye Bye lovely Bolivia, Hola Chile!!!!!!
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