Yaniv and salt lakes

Trip Start Jun 06, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Thursday, August 3, 2006

it is absolutely amazing how quickly and totally the culture changes between argentina and bolivia... rivka, estephi, matias and i trailed through la quiaca and the bourder with our packs to arrive in villazon, the bolivian boarder town, amoungst a sea of other tourist and locals at about 7am in order to get train tix to uyuni (these tix are notoriously hard to get). a couple of hours later, we had managed the impossible and actually got the tix we wanted (middle class- with a seat, but half the price of the others)- even though the guy selling them insisted that there were none left..... this seemed really strange as when we actually got on the train 6 hrs later there were still heaps of vacant seats. arrived in uyuni at 1.30am in the morning and were thankful to be hearded to a hostel by a local couple who allocated all the hoards of tourist that had arrived on the train to various places.

2) ok..... so it is independence day in bolivia on the 6th..... and for the past two days uyuni has been packed full of marching bands, from little kids, to teenagers, to various army and police personelle, everyone here plays a trumpet...... and whats more, the national anthem plays several times a day, it is only 11am here and already we have heard the anthem 3 times.... adn each time it plays, everyone has to stop what they are doing and take their hat off, oterwise you get told of by army and police!!!! hahahah its a wonder anything gets done around here.... also we were in the middle of a marching band off!!!! hilarious- we were sitting having lunch when a marching band rocked up and started playing, before long another one rounded the corner and set up shop right next door to the first, both playing over each other in tough competition..... and to top it off a third one came and joined the calamity!!!!! so much for a peaceful lunch!!!

3)first of all after such a big build up, independence day here was a bit of a fizzle..... NOTHING HAPPENED!!!!!! no marching bands.... there were hardly even any ppl on the streets!!!! what an anti climax.... hahahahha, actually, its a bit of a relief not to haee that constant noise.....
so what have we been doing in uyuni for the past three days (in the words of sally, this place is a hole!!) basically, we (rivka, aurelien, matias and i) have become very at home here, we have adopted the ladies at the place we are staying as our makeshift mum (who cooks for us) and grandma (who always has nice things to say). we have been having yaniv (card game) championships, rivka has been loosing things and having shopping delemmas, aurelien has been climbing things and collecting rocks, and we have all been learning how to make bracelets. for our one field trip we visited the train cemetery, a place just outside town where all old trains are abandoned to rust away.... pretty interesting..... its really strange that they donīt do something with the metal there (on a side note, it was our argentinian friend blass who made this comment, which is appropriate considering that in argentina ppl raid the telephone wires in order to sell the copper off overseas- despite the fact that the government then has to buy the copper back!!!! hahahah that sth america for u)

so on the fourth day sally and kelly arrive for a long awaited reuinion and we head off to the salt lakes on a three day tour...... sally, kelly, rivka, aurelien, matias and i in a jeep with our driver and guide, his wife the cook and a four month old william. ok so a quick overview..... visited the salt lakes and isla pescado in the middle- lots of perspective photos were taken here (you will see what i mean in the photo gallery when i eventually do it). dali desert and the arbol del piedra (rock tree), laguna ordienda (or something like that), laguna colorado (red lake), some geisers, thermal pools (where we only braved our feet coz it was soooooo cold), laguna verde (site of the coldest breakfast ever), and the chilien frontier, where we bade sad farewell to kelly and sally again....... our reuinion was way too short. first night lulled us into a false sense on security..... but the second night was absolutely freeeeeezing!!!!! slept fully clothed with matias and i both in one sleeping bag inner sheet.... but this was also the site of one o fhte most amazing sunset ever- simultaneous full moon rise and sun set!!! amazing..... overall food was great, guide was a bit crap, and annoyed us by hurrying us up everywhere (man tours really suck), baby william was a chubby cheeked cutie who ammused us on the boring drives, and the setting was absolutely breathtaking!!!!!!
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