4x4 Jeep, 4x4 Amazing People

Trip Start Jul 19, 2010
Trip End Aug 13, 2010

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Friday, July 23, 2010

Terrible nights sleep again :( ah well, I'm in South America I can't complain!

Breakfast was amazing again, this time the cooks made us pancakes with dulce de leche (kind of like toffee spread) for breakfast- delicious! Then it was time to get back into the Jeep of Dreams with Kim, Rickie and Michelle for a 6 hour journey back to Uyuni! We put my iPod on through the stereo and again, they had a surprising amount of iPod accessories in their jeep, like this usb charger thing, so that kept us going :)

Although we were again surrounded by blue skies and glorious sunshine, which sometimes meant we forgot about how cold it was, the number of rivers which had turned to ice we passed reminded us just how cold it is in the Salt Flats. We had to cross lots of rivers turned into ice, which was so much fun and on one occasion we were completely surrounded by llamas, which was amazing. Here I was in the Salt Flats of Bolivia, driving in a big 4x4 jeep battling the ice, carefully crossing the iced covered rivers, all the time being surround by llamas- amazing!

We then stopped off in this tiny little town for the cooks to prepare lunch and it was like something out of a film. An eerie silence was broken by a little kid playing football which was heart-warming. I was able to briefly bond with this little boy because of a shared love of football and the fact that I could speak to him in Spanish. He was so cute and cheeky, and we loved playing football with him on the streets, but at the same time it was a massive eye opener as you get closer to him and realise that his dark skin, which at first you think is due to the sunlight, is actually due to the sheer dust and dirt of where he lives, together with the fact that he doesn't get washed. This can be seen across Bolivia and in fact Peru, people look older than they are, for example a girl I was talking to, who I thought was much older than me, at least in her thirties turned out to be only 14. This is due to the terrible living conditions in Bolivia, really heart breaking.

Lunch was prepared and eaten in a little community centre in the centre of town and the walls were decorated with the history of the town and Bolivia which was so colourful and interesting. The lunch was again a traditional Bolivian meal and it was similar to shepherds pie except with Llama in a circular potato pie pastry thing with peas/carrots and an egg in the middle- mental. An egg!

We then continued our journey back to Uyuni with various stops along the way, including toilet stops. Just before we arrived at Uyuni we had one last visit to make- to the train cemetery. The build up to this was just hilarious, because Rickie, Michelle, Kim and I just couldn't get out head around the idea of a train cemetery and why it would be interesting, we were just like: "whaaaaaat?" So when we all arrived we were all pretty hyper from laughing so much and although it was pretty impressive we just took the piss a little and climbed the "ruins" which was a lot of fun as we joined up with the other jeeps. One of my favourite pictures was taken here, see blog photo cover. 

We arrived at the hotel and I was sharing with Lauren again, then we unpacked, whilst watching parts of Chicago and these 2 wierd films for just over an hour! Then I went out into town by myself to look for an Internet cafe. I hadn't spoken to my family at all, and I think any parent with an 18year old daughter effectively on her own in a pretty dangerous, developing part of the world, South America, would be sick with worry. The internet cafe was obviously slow but it was good to just let Sal know that everything was ok. Then I came back and had the nicest hot shower- first for a while!!

At 6:30 most of us met up in the lobby and we all walked to the "best pizza restaurant in Bolivia" we all ordered large pizzas (I chose ham and chicken) and a "large" pizza was an absolute understatement. It was honestly the biggest pizza I have ever seen- amazing!! Only managed to eat half, and anyone who knows me well will know that I ALWAYS finish what's on my plate, even if it means I am stuffing my face to the point that it literally hurts to stand up- who knows why I do it, that's another story... Anyway, I only managed to eat half of the pizza which shows just how big this pizza was and so I saved the rest for lunch tomorrow- great plan! At the restaurant we all sat on a long table but I sat with Rickie, Michelle, Denise, Sarah (the two swedes) and Kim which was all good fun and laughs as usual! 

Rickie and Michelle are sisters and are so funny, play fighting with each other just like me and Sal. Its ridiculous how similar those two are to me and Sal! We finished around 8:30pm and started walking back to the hotel.  Bumping into a parade on the way with a marching band and loads of fireworks which honestly sounded like gunshots at first, which was a bit intimidating until we saw the amazing fireworks. Cultural. 

I had a good nights sleep surprisingly- FINALLY!
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