Salt Salt Sea and Sewage

Trip Start Dec 29, 2009
Trip End Dec 24, 2010

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Where I stayed
In a jeep

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Joint entry continued...

With a La Paz hangover beating in our brains and looming mountain of activities ahead of us we dragged our sorry asses onto a jeep to get to the box tick...
the SALT FLATS which is 12 hours away from La Paz. 

Due to disorganised nature of us in general we booked it on the day we wanted to go and as it was fully booked we had to catch an overnight jeep there with an irish couple. Private jeep sounds quite nice doesnt it. Ok.  Now imagine 3 hours of normal road, everything fine, just like at home, and then BAM! The rest of the way is over rocky bumpy twisty muddy DIRT road that is literally so bumpy your it makes your teeth chatter and the skin on your face wobble (note, less spaghetti bolognaise more salad). Needless to say not much sleep was had.  We took turns to sleep in each other`s laps while the other one stayed awake and tried to cushion them from the bumps. 2 hours each and then we`d swap. Teamwork! We arrived at the Salt Flats and met our tour guide, Andean Salt adventures. They offer 1,3,4,5 and 7 day tours but we were on the 1 day super power trip as we thought we had an impending tour awaiting us. Turns out due to the landslides it was cancelled however we still think 1 day was enough. Have not had a chance to talk to fellow friends on 3 or 5 day tours to see how that went although i hear there is some amazing wildlife and hot springs to be seen in the south of bolivia. Being on the 1 day tour we headed to the big kahoona, the salt flats.. which is exactly like it sounds... a huge flat desert of salt.  (yes em did lie down and lick the floor!) and it is so much fun because everywhere you look, there is just this white expanse of nothingness. When we were there it had been raining so the entire floor was like a mirror, this beautiful shiny white that reflected the sky.  It was crazy because it was very difficult to make out the horizon and so you couldn`t really tell where the real sky began or ended. It was like being in a sky marble... it was just sky sky sky clouds clouds clouds all around with no idea where they began or ended.  check out photos. breathtaking.

After that we went to the bus station to get our overnight bus back to La Paz. We were excited about getting the bus because wanted to sleep in not-so-bumpy environment. Ie non lap sharing teeth shattering kind. We arrived at the office with our tickets. This is what happened.
US: Hello! We are here to get our bus to La Paz. Here are our tickets.
(Bus lady takes tickets and looks at them. She looks in her book. She flips through some pages. She looks at our tickets again. She hands us back our tickets.
US: Que? No? Si!
(We thrust the tickets back into her hands.)
BUS LADY: No. Bus is full.
(she gives us back the tickets)
US: But we booked yesterday! We have tickets!
(we wave tickets enticingly under her nose)
US: Si!!
BUS LADY: Bus full.  Mistake.  Not me. You. No.
Anyway after much stamping around and her saying `No` and us yelling `Si!`we managed to figure out that our wonderful bolivian travel agency had double booked our bus tickets.  Normally, no problemo, we stay another night and catch the next bus tomorrow. HOWEVER, we had to get ANOTHER bus the next day which would take us to Lima, where we are now, and had already paid for it. So we desperately needed to get on THAT bus, THAT night. So we bargained.
Basically bus lady said, lets wait and see if someone doesn´t show up, then you can have their tickets.
nice, we thought.
everyone showed up.
damn, we thought.
finally the bus lady said, ok, ok, and led us onto the bus, right up to the very back, and pointed to the floor.
´Si,´she said.
We looked at the tiny scrap of bus floor which was literally jammed inbetween some sort of exposed piping, the back seats and the toilet.
´No,`we said.
aaaaand before you could say adios, we are lying down on the dirty bus floor - nikki wedged between the back seats and em, em wedged between the piping and nikki. both of us wedged against the toilet.
but wait.. it gets worse.
Hello smelly eldery bolivian woman dressed in full colonial bolivian get up.. ie. layers and layers of colourful skirts that we agree have NEVER been washed.  Guess who wants to bunk up with us. oh yes. so now nikki is wedged between back seats and Em is wedged in between nikki and elderly smelly bolivian woman, bolivian woman is wedged between Em and the piping, all three of us are wedged against the toilet, which is simply a bucket slish slosh sloshing god knows what on the floor. then person who cannot hold themselves needs to go and opens the door and WHAM we are hit with deathly odour no soul should smell. and all three of us are lying down on the bus floor.
ok.. remember how we said it was a bumpy journey IN THE JEEP??
well. well well well. you have NO IDEA how bad it was journeying on the floor of the bus. surprised we still have all teeth, we thought they were going to be rattled out of our skulls. also no concussion.  Every time the bus went over a big bump, our heads would fly up and then smack against the floor. Flesh on face jiggling, DAMN stop with the hamburgers girls! And to make matters worse, every time someone went to the toilet they would
a) step on us
b) smack the door into our legs
c) unleash horrid toilet odours
d) unleash some sort of tepid water that was leaking out of the bathroom ONTO US.
yes. bolivian toilet water running down your leg in the middle of the night whilst you are lying on teh floor jammed up against a crazy old bolivian woman in the dark on a bumpy road in middle of nowhere is not the nicest thing that has happened to us since travelling. 

needless to say that when we finally arrived, we almost wept from relief.
and now we are in lima. which is sunny. hooo-fucking-ray! we have a week until we start our tour and we have big plans to do NIENTE. goodbye rio and bolivia hangover. hello fresh new sparkling ladies. our washing comes in today. that is so amazing. fresh lemon goodness. gasp horror. and we got to have some chilean wine

How funny is this

Nikki and Em: after said horror 52 hr bus rides of death, lets go out to dinner
Us to 1000th waiter selling best dinner in all of the world: can we see the menu
(peruse menu)
OOoohhh cheapo, 5 dollars for 3 course extravaganza
us to waiter: Vinto tinto per favore! (only spanish we know.. red wine please!)
Waiter: si, please have some from chile
Us: oooohh okay you mean it isnt in manufactured in a toilet? excellent!
Waiter: Si.
Us: Bring it on

3 hrs, many bottles and 2 very happy drunk traumatised bus riders later.....

Nikki bill payer: quaaanta cost this food e drinkie and did i mention im fluent spanish person?
Waiter: food is $10 and wine is $55
Nikki bill payer: woops.
em drunk companion: lets get another

We spent $10 on food between us and almost 5 times as much on wine and we were so happy to not be caked in toilet goo we did not think of checking wine prices! woops. big backpacker wine error. will add the wine was delicious (and about a fifth the price in our hostel).  even bigger backpacker error. meh. it tastes texmexcellentay.

and with that, we are going to have some more

Adios kiddies!

PS yes we are all fine re earthquake and tsunami etc. apparently we were on high alert last night but dont think peru has tsunami warning system in place as we found out from facebook. comforting. good news is we are all good and healthy and MISS YOUUUUU!!

PPS 513 visitors to the blog today! wooohooo!

Lots of love

xxx us

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