Lagoon-ed out.

Trip Start Apr 04, 2008
Trip End Apr 26, 2008

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Monday, April 21, 2008

Today is day two of the expedition through the wilds of southern Bolivia. We've left the Salt Flats behind and will be exploring the Reserva Eduardo Avaroa for the next 2 days. I feel a lot better today but have developed a really bad cough. No chance of a drug store out here so I've been stealing all Craig's cough drops and hoping not the cough up a lung. But really my head and stomach feel a lot better today so I should be able to enjoy the drive more.

We were up at dawn today and spent the day driving from one lagoon to another through lunar like landscapes. There are flamingos out here. We also saw a chinchilla that was after our apples at lunch and a cute little fox which our driver stopped and gave some food so that we could get good photos. There are llamas and vicunas (wild llama like creatures) living out here. We saw a smoking volcano and some crazy rock formations. These are terrible descriptions of what was another amazing driving day. Some people on the trip were tiring of the hours on the "road" and others spent a good portion of the day sleeping (myself included again).

We've gone up another 1000 m through the day and will be sleeping at 5000 m tonight, our highest point in the whole tour. We arrived at our night stop which was another dorm, this time on the edge of the Laguna Colorada, a red lagoon full of flamingos. This place has many other guests and we all share 1 co-ed bathroom with 2 non-flushing toilets. This is by far the worst accommodation we've stayed at and possibly the worst I've ever been in through all my travels. Basically this is the best option in the area. It's a national park and everything is owned by locals who don't see the need for toilet seats or even the need to humor tourists by getting some.  The windows in our room are held together with duct tape - done by other travelers I'm sure, not management.

We arrived before sunset so we all got bundled up and went for a walk over to the lookout. The air was freezing and thin at this altitude. The wind was very strong and with my cough I was having a really hard time getting enough oxygen. Looking back maybe I should have skipped the walk but I really wanted to get some photos! It actually ended up being a bit scary as I felt like I couldn't  breathe sometimes and making it back to the hotel was very difficult.

After our wonderful dinner - our cook made simple food but they were some of the best meals of the whole trip - we all barricaded ourselves in one of the rooms and played cards for a few hours. The hotel was freezing, the bathrooms disgusting and the wind was howling outside. I was glad I'd bought a llama wool hat and socks before leaving Uyuni because I definitely needed them at night!
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