Freezing Butts and Clever Trucks
Trip Start Oct 28, 2008
107Trip End Jun 30, 2009
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Where I stayed
Here were the highpoints
- The Salar de Uyuni - nothing prepares you for this amazing bright white landscape - the result of an ancient sea which dried up over time and left 5 metres of pure salt across 12.000 kmē of salt desert. It is situated at 3.650 metres above sea level so you get quite breathless moving about which we did a lot of as it is perfet for distance distorting visual illusion type photos (will upload these this weekend)
- Isla del Prescado - island in the middle of the salar which is covered by giant cacti up to 12 metres high
- Arbol de Piedra (Stone tree). This was naturally formed through volcanic rock which has formed a Dali-esque tree in the middle of the desert which looks incredibly top heavy and... like a tree. It definitely resembles some of Daliīs sculptures and paintings. There is even part of the desert whichich is named after him because of the landscape - though he never visited Bolivia. Not bad getting somewhere you never bothered to visit named after you!
- Laguna Colorada - this lake was pink when we visited early in the morning but can be a deep red at other times of the day due to the high concentration of ..
- The ruins of an ancient mining town "San Antonio" which was abandoned 20 years ago because locals believed that it was cursed by the Devil (Dogs always howling, babies that never stopped crying). We visited at the crack of dawn whilst it was still dark and it felt incredibly eerie to wander around the ruins of churches and houses. All of us felt quite creeped out by the experience. especially when the Jeep refused to start when we tried to get out of there !!
- Aguas Calientes - we bathed in hot springs (30 degrees) in the middle of the desert on day 2
Great feeling though painully cold getting out
- Sleeping in a hotel made of salt
Two of the places we stayed at had walls made of salt
- Geysers and an active volcano (V. Ollague)
- Visiting lagunas of different colours - e.g. Laguna Colorado (light red due to high concentration of arsenic) and laguna blanco ( white due to volcanic ash). Lots of minerals in the lakes such as sulphur and borax.
- Crossing a small river which was full of huge slabs of ice in the 4x4 - initially it kept sliding , we tried reversing and in the end after a bit of clearing of the ice the 4x4 made it over - powerful machine!
- Seeing animals along the way (Llamas, Guanacos, Vicunas , a wild fox)
Here were the lowpoints
- Ferocious wind on day 1
- Minus 15 degrees Getting charged 50p in many places along the way to use disgusting toilets that had never seen a cleaner - they seem to think hat one spray of air freshener is all it takes (In one place I actually spent several minutes arguing that to charge this much for a disgusting toilet was unacceptable - good practice for my spanish)
- Being literally trapped on day 4 in a village 20km away from the main town uyuni