Boliva so far......

Trip Start Sep 03, 2009
Trip End Nov 21, 2009

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Greetings from Sucre, the captial of Bolivia - this is an amazing country, it has such a cool vibe, definately enjoying it more then Peru!
La Paz was a spectacular city to view as we arrived on the bus, the following morning we did a morning city tour which gave us some bearings for the city & a good perspective as well, the guide was really informative & the tour was well worth while.  Ian, Kirsty, Cara & I then explored the streets close by for the afternoon but first we shared the world´s largest pizzas, what were we thinking 2 grande (ie. massive) pizzas for lunch...piggies!  Spent the arvo walking off the calories, bought a few things, who knows if they´re pressies or for me.....was a nice place to wander about.  At 7pm we met our new tour guide, Soledad, & 3 new girls from England.  Soledad is from La Paz so great to have a local showing us around, she´s only been a tour guide since June so is still full of enthusiasm which is great & a nice change from Julio.  Left La Paz Sat morn, such a shame we didnt have more time here, and headed for Uyuni, a small town which is the start point for the Salt Flats.  We got a bus then a 7hr train trip to Uyuni, arrived at the hotel about 1am, was tiring but the trip went pretty fast cos of the good company, also they played the Simpsons movie, dubbed in Spanish with English subtitles, it was pretty funny.  Next morning a respectable 10am departure in 3 four wheel drives for the long journey through the salt flats.  This is such a difficult area to describe needless to say the landscape was amazing, we had BBQ alpaca steaks for lunch before we headed for the crazy photo session in the afternoon, will try & upload the photos asap.  Our hotel for the night was made of salt!! We had dorm style rooms with mattresses on salt beds, it was the most bizarre hotel i´ve ever seen let alone stayed in but it was so unique & interesting.  It was a really windy & cold night but surprisingly slept ok.  The next day was another long day in the 4wd´s crossing this desert area, so many great spots to see & take photos but unfortunately it was soooo windy that we´d rug up, jump out of the car, quickly take photos of the pink flamingos or lagoons etc & jump back in the shelter of the car, it just added to the experience.  This night was at an very very basic hotel, nothing to do except play cards until dinner then off to bed as it was freezing....the next morning was a horrible 5.15am start to head to some thermal pools, which sounded like a great idea to swim in 30 degree natural springs when its about 5degrees outside however it was still bloody windy.  Only 5 of us braved the conditions & sprinted between the side of the "closed"shed (why couldnt they unlock it to get changed) & the pool, the hardest part of course was getting out & changing into warm clothes without any protection from the wind, the breaky & hot chocolate soon warmed us up, at least we´d had a wash after 2 "dusty no shower days"!   The rest of the day was driving across desert & stopping for photos we got back to Uyuni about 5.30pm & definately had a good nights sleep that night.  Next morning was a bus trip to Potosi.  Potosi is the highest city of its size in the world & the opportunity to visit a still working silver mine.  We got kitted up as miners & went in - the conditions for these miners is dreadful & hard to comprehend how hard they work in such dangerous condititions for so little money, tragic really. It was an interesting tour plus we got to see one of the miners prepare a section for dynamite & we stayed in while it exploded, in hindsight probably not the wisest thing to do but it seemed safe just loud.  From Potosi (where we had our first rain of the trip!) we then headed to Sucre by 3 taxis.  Now this sounds normal enough, however we had a loco driver on the most winding roads ever, after 3 hours of his wacky driving the 4 of us in our cab were incredibly glad to arrive into Sucre in one piece & welcomed the bottle of red at dinner.  Our tour guide Soledad is amazing she has so much patience, enthusiasm & energy she´s definately making the Bolivia experience a great one.  We have 3 nights in Sucre & another farewell dinner tonight, this is a cool city, very much a Spanish influence but again such great people & sights.  Tomorrow 5 of us head onto Santa Cruz where we´ll meet another new tour guide & I think 2 new people then we arrive into Brazil on Monday! hard to believe its October & by the end of the month I´ll be in London - what a contrast.  But I´ll be making the most of the rest of my Sth America trip that´s for sure, still so much to see.
So its Adios from Sucre, big party & dancing tonight, lucky the flight tomorrow isnt too early...
Hope all´s well back in Aust - very glad to hear about Cadel & the world champs, shame to hear that Geelong won the AFL & have no idea about the other football final......
Take care
Love Judy x
PS: congrats to Jason & Fiona, hope you have a wonderful day on Sat (hope that´s the right day)    
PPS. special hello & cuddles to Erin & Dan

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