Altiplano Day Two

Trip Start May 20, 2010
Trip End Sep 05, 2011

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Where I stayed
Some dodgy hotel with no water!

Flag of Bolivia  , Potosí,
Thursday, March 3, 2011


Day : 290
Weather : Sunny
Temperature : 15 degrees

I'd had a terrible night's sleep, although when I woke up I was feeling slightly better than I had the previous night. My headache, although still present was somewhat less. I didn't feel nauseous any more. Kevin, lucky sod, was up and about, bright and sparky, ready for the day, feeling absolutely fine. Dan and Lee were also feeling better.

Breakfast consisted of cold pancakes and dulce de leche with some tea, and I forced myself to eat half a pancake and have a drink even though my appetite had still deserted me. It was only after being up for about half an hour that my headache returned with a vengence. I felt like I had daggers in my eyes, temples, forehead and the back of my neck....time to eat the painkillers again! I also noticed that I was more short of breath than the previous night and I was having to take big gulps of air. Nausea and dizziness started coming in waves and my heart was pounding. Not good.

We packed our bags and left an hour later. Our guide was explaining what we would see that day but I couldn't give a toss, I was on the verge of tears feeling so sorry for myself. Thankfully, that night we would be spending in Uyuni, at 3,600m above sea level, and all I could think about was how quickly we could get there!

We drove on through the altiplano, unfortunately gaining another 300m in altitude, which, whether psychological or not made me feel even worse!! We stopped at several spots to take photos of the amazing rock formations, lakes and wildlife. I however, spent most of the time in the jeep, feeling too lousy to get out, thinking through the fog of my mind that our gain in altitude was SO not good considering the state that I was in. The only thing that kept me from full out panic was the reassurance that at some point that day we would be descending. Kevin, was still feeling fine and was able to take everything in. Dan and Lee were mostly okay, managing to keep their headaches at bay with some painkillers.

Eventually we joined the main "road" from Uyuni to Calama in Chile, and very gradually over the next few hours we started descending. We arrived in Uyuni in the late afternoon and checked into our hotel. We were all desperate for a shower since we hadn't had one since leaving Chile. I had to get Kevin to stand outside the bathroom door, since the shower door didn't actually close, gaping a good 20 cm or so...interesting!  After 10 minutes of an almost cold water shower I was just about to turn the tap off when hot water started coming through. I decided to stay in the shower another few minutes enjoying the heat and turned the tap up a little more....when the whole tap came off in my hands leaving a gaping hole in the wall, out of which gushed freezing cold water at full pressure, as if someone had turned a hose on full blast!!! I frantically spent the next five minutes trying to screw the tap back into the wall against the pressure of the water which was blasting out. I was just about to give up, thinking sod it, and let the place flood when I somehow managed to screw it back in, crisis much for a nice hot shower!

By the time dinner was served, only a few hours later, I was feeling so much was incredible. My headache had nearly gone, my heart rate and breathing rate at rest were more or less normal once again, and my nausea was gone. I can't tell you how much of a relief it was to feel my symptoms subsiding. That evening everyone had a glass of wine (except myself) and heaps of food.....making up for the two days of not eating much at all. How nice it was to feel almost back to normal.

Tomorrow we were heading to the magnificent Salar de Uyuni.
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