Made it to Uyuni in one piece!

Trip Start Jun 11, 2008
Trip End May 14, 2009

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Sunday, February 22, 2009

We made it, we got up at 4.45am and left for the salt flats at about 5.20am.

We stopped right in the middle of the salt flats to see the sunrise. It was a little cloudy but still gave us a great view. We stayed here taking photo's until about 7am.

15mins later we arrived at "Isla Pescado" (Fish Island). I expected to see and island full of Essex girls, but as it happens it was rock and cacti. This was right in the middle of the salt flats - very bizarre. We spent about 45mins walking round the island - it was fascinating and gave us some magnificent views over the surrounding 12000 square kilometres of salt flats!!

Some of the cacti on the island are hundreds of years old - nearly as old as Browny at work!! One was 900 years old and 9 metres tall and still going strong. There was also one that had died in 2007. This baby was over 1200 years old and 12 metres high!

After our brisk morning walk - and discharge from the local emergency ward - it was time for breakfast. We had our usual bread and dulce de leche with tea & coffee.
Then it was photomania time, taking hundreds of photos out in the salt. Sad, I know!

About 9ish we finally got away and headed across the flats again. It was about an hour before we reached the, now disused, original Hotel de Sal, right in the middle of the flats. Apparently it is now an illegal structure, but the Bolivians have translated that into 'Museum'. Cunning.

After finally getting off the salt flats, we passed some small gift stalls before hitting the road to Uyuni. We arrived about 11.30am.

We were stopping two nights at the HI Salar de Uyuni which isn't the classiest place. We were told the restrictions as we arrived - we are only allowed one shower a day and this can last a maximum of 7 minutes!! We can have only 1 hour of electrical power to charge up our camera etc!! I was expecting this to be followed by - you are only allowed 3 minutes to take a dump and 2 minutes to have sex. Obviously we all know that both these are easily achievable by myself......Twice!!

We decided to get out of S-21 and have a walk around town. We grabbed a spot of lunch first at the Kactus Bar. This had a great drinks menu, that if you drink the ten drinks on the "Not for Chickens" list in less than the current record you get them all free. The record was about 45 seconds and the guy must have had an asbestos throat!! I could never see this type of activity being legal at the Bird in Hand!

We went to the ATM and it was out of order and wouldn't be working again until at least Wednesday as it was Carnaval time! Also all the exchange places were closed - we had 4 to our name! Luckily they opened up for a couple of hours later so all was not lost and we got some dollars changed - at a good rate as well.

Just to celebrate our arrival, the town was having a Carnaval Party tonight. Isn't that nice of them to welcome us to grandly. Funny how it coincided with Carnaval across the rest of South America!
Strangely, the way they celebrate here us to batter everyone with water balloons and super-soakers.
We initially were quite dry as we sat having a beer watching the parade, but as things went on, it just got mental. People from ages 6 to 106 were battering the people who came by in the parade and everybody spectating!

Then Lorna got hit......battle was to commence....she ran over to buy some water balloons, then chased this Bolivian lad down the street, right through the middle of the Carnaval!! That's how wars are started Lorna. As I laughed, I took one to the side of the body, but like an finally tuned machine, spun round and launched two water balloons and claimed two clean head shots!! England 2 Bolivia 1!!

It was all a bit messy after that, but we eventually got back to the hostel to dry off - we were allowed 6 minutes to do this!

We went out in the evening to a great pizza restaurant and had a fantastic pizza between us - and a couple of bottles of the local brew (Huari 4.8%) - nice. The Carnaval (that's how they spell it by the way) kept on going well into the night - it was a good party atmosphere.
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stellat on

How Marvelous Darlings.
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