Trip Start Jul 12, 2009
Trip End Aug 18, 2010

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Sunday, October 18, 2009

For the next two days we were introduced to the Salt lake and surrounding area. This is the largest salt flat on earth, it is 12,000 square kilometres in size and is really quite beautiful. We went into Uyuni first and explored the Sunday market, which was remarkably clean and very friendly. Then we went out to the salt flats to see where the locals dig and pile their salt leaving it to dry out in the sun before it is collected. The next day we were taken to a family and shown how they grind and bag the salt – all this for 20 boliviano a day per person, a meagre 2. The whole process is Victorian. Apparently this is an American/Bolivian venture (Consorcio Rosario) which demonstrated to us why Bolivia is so anti-foreign investment as the person who signed this contract sold this community out big time.

We then visited a boring salt museum, which used to be the first salt hotel. – Sorry Fynn has just told me it was not boring so if you are visiting with children this is a tick.

We drove up to the Thunupa volcano to see an Inca cemetery in a rock cave. Unfortunately locals sold the mummies found in the area to the Chileans (heaven knows what they wanted with them) so we were lucky to have a couple of them left all buried in the foetal position and left with items to see them comfortably in their next life.

Richard's (one of our drivers) wife is a teacher at the public school in Uyuni and he had arranged for the children to spend the morning at the school in her class. The kids caused quite an effect and were all in one class. They all introduced themselves and then we left them there. Whilst there the kids learnt to tell the time in Spanish, worked on their handwriting and drew. The kids in the class were great to them and shared their sweets and stickers.

In the afternoon Richard’s daughter, Lawra joined us to Inka Wasi – an island situated in the middle of the salt pan. We spent some time laying on the salt taking photos with dinosaurs, as the area is so vast you could play tricks with the camera.

That evening Paola organised a crepe paper competition. The aim was for the adults to decorate their chosen child using only crepe paper and staplers. Fynn was a bandito, Edie King Arthur and Lily a Bolivian Beauty Queen in Bolivian colours. Ian was a flamingo (he got carried away – perhaps it is time for him to go back to work). The judges were the ladies in the kitchen and they awarded Fynn first price and presented him with a bruised banana.
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