Southern Bolivia Trip!
Trip Start Nov 03, 2010
42Trip End Ongoing
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Met the other 4 people in our tour. These are the 4 that you travel with during the day and sleep in a dorm with at night…..luckily for us they were all really nice. Two Swedish girls, a Swiss woman and a chap from northern Spain (who thought that Patch and I understood way more Spanish than we do and insisted on continuing to talk at us for three days. It was a bit like that drunk guy from the Fast Show- we’d think we’d know what he was talking about and then he’d suddenly pretend to be galloping on a horse, or shooting a gun from behind a chair whilst we’d be trying desperately not to giggle)
Off we went to……Salar de Uyuni! The biggest salt flats in the world and it’s a bizarre place. Just crusty salt as far as you can see in every direction. Because we were there at the end of the wet season there were pools of water on them too which result in very bizarre mirages and reflections from the sky and surrounding mountains. Whilst we were waiting for our lunch I popped to the toilet and bumped into Sophie (Ally’s girlfriend who we’d spent time with in BA and seen Shakira with). Patch and I hid around the corner and we surprised Ally again which was amusing, not somewhere where you expect to bump into people!
Unofficially called Jeep Appreciation Day. We drove for about 8 hours which sounds a bit dull but we were stopping every 40 minutes or so and looking at the most amazing scenery I’ve ever seen. It’s very difficult to describe how beautiful somewhere is without getting very smaltzy and making you feel a bit queezy so I’ll let the photos do most of the talking. But every turn of the road brought the most spectacular views- snowy mountains, clay-red lagoons with thousands flamingos feeding in it, huge Dali-esque weathered rocks, volcanoes and turquoise green lagoons.
We were up at 4:30 after perhaps the worst night’s sleep we’ve had so far on the trip
But again we saw some amazing things. By this point we were over 5000 meters above sea level (around the same as base camp for climbing Everest….bloody high!) and it was still REALLY cold especially at 5 in the morning before the sun rises. We stopped briefly to see geysers and then arrived at a thermal pool on the edge of a lagoon. Our group was the first ones there and so the 6 of us in a steaming pool (about 35° ) watched the sun rise over snowy mountains at the edge of the Andes.
By 9 we were at the border control with Chile and we had arrived in touristy (read overpriced) town of San Pedro de Attacama by lunchtime. As soon as we were over the border the difference between Chile and Bolivia was stark- smooth tarmaced roads complete with emergency escape areas on hills, toilet paper and soap in the toilets and an absence of packs of dogs in the town. Everything seemed so shiny and new!