Arrival in Uynui- end of salt desert treck

Trip Start Nov 03, 2012
Trip End Dec 31, 2012

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Flag of Bolivia  , Potosí,
Saturday, November 10, 2012

We woke in a better frame of health this morning thanks to some magic pills from the hostel owner.
Ate some breakfast, black coffee, even tackled scrambled eggs successfully.
Jose' and McGyver picked us up at 9 and we headed off to the salt.

After a short twisting drive we reached the salt lake that had a man made dirt/rock bridge across it from one side to the other for when the lake experiences rain (not a short distance either, 90 kms of dirty rock just to keep the two sides of the lake in contact when need arises.)
Distances are difficult to make out on the salt plain. We headed towards a distant volcano for about half an hour be for stopping and getting out for photo ops and silly pictures.

Another half hour of fast driving across the salt (don't know what speed, McGyvers speedometer was broken.) and we reached an island in the salt flats covered in cactus where we had a hike and lunch. Jose' told us an extended pre columbian story about how the distant volcano came into being, how the salt lake formed etc. (a story of human volcano gods, power, wealth, love, murder, despair, pregnancy out of wedlock, rejection, banishment, depression and breast milk.

Breast milk.
It's to long to tell you here. Perhaps I'll bore you in person with it.

From there we went across the salt flats to a hotel made entirely out if salt, in the middle of the salt flats. Bought a postcard for 4BOB. They had a lot of things for sale but Jose' said they were over priced.

From there we visited a salt palace, compared to the hotel it was indeed palatial. by which was a small town in which families worked on the salt flats cutting blocks or processing the salt. We met a man who took us through the process of heating the salt, raking it, mashing it until it is refined to a table salt level where they add iodine to it.
6 men can process 5 tone by hand in a day, they receive 15BOB (less than $3) for a 50kg bag made up of 100 500g bags.
Beside the salt processing hut (for that is what it effectively was) was a store where we purchased some items for those at home (no spoilers)

A hour journey brought us to the end of our salt flat trip so that by 5pm we had arrived at Uyuni where our pre booked hotel had no record of our booking, payment, or room for us so we were forced to trek around town trying to find an alternative.
For 350BOB we found a twin single with bathroom but in which few of the lights worked, windows didn't open and doors didn't close. What was possibly worse however was that it was up steep stairs. The last thing we wanted to see.

After unpacking and a quick shower we went out to locate The towns single ATM where we met some backpackers who we questioned about ways onward into Bolivia by bus. They flew in and planned to fly out, so Tina and I considered them tourists rather than travelers and left them be.

Here followed an hour of shouting at my little laptop as it refused to process a booking for our accommodation in Sucre. Using the hotels slow wifi and a lot of teeth grinding we realised we needed an alternative way of booking. So, using phrase book and paper we prepared to ask the hotel staff to ring and book for us. They rang and handed us the phone.
Armed with 12 weeks of immersion Spanish and a phrase book I began butchering the language at which the person on the line said 'Englase?......' And handed the phone to an English speaking staff member.

The main square is restaurant filled and strangely, it is mainly populated by pizza houses.
Ordered some pisco sours and a pizza each (tried llama pizza, I don't regret it) but fortunately we were not overly hungry because speed if service did not seem to be in their nature. Pizzas were possibly overly cheesed, but interesting. Our appetite had improved to the point of being able to eat at least half. Which was an improvement.

Retired to bed to watch a movie in Spanish staring one of the actresses from Buffy which seemed to be written entirely for the purpose of exploiting the fact she did not have a 'no nudity' clause.
It even had a complex story line. But I fell asleep 15mins before the end.
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