March 31 - April 4
01.04.2010 - 04.04.2010
Wednesday March 31, 2010
Today we embark on our 3 day 2 night off-road adventure to Uyuni. We get up early and are picked up at around 7:30. We are dropped off in front of the tour agency along with 25 other people going on the tour. We all pile into 2 buses and head to the Bolivian border, Chilean customs is no problem, and at Bolivian customs they single out the American, there are four of us and take our passports, as they don't issue visas at this particular immigration point. The driver is suppose to keep them, but our driver Walter gives us them as soon as he gets in the truck. At the boarder we meet 5 Land Rovers and are put 6 passengers in each. The land rover we are traveling in is circa the late 70s, but it does have a winch and on board air. The first day we see several lagunas (I am not sure if a laguna translates to lake, lagoon or something else), we also go to a thermal bath and see some geysers. The geysers are at roughly 5,000 meters or 16,000 feet. I feel a little light headed, but nothing worse than that. After the geysers we head to out hostel, have lunch, get situated and then head off to another laguna. The laguna's range from green, to white, to red. After that we eat dinner and get into bed for a very cold night, roughly 18 degrees Fahrenheit with no heat. It was cold!
Thursday April 1, 2010
The next morning Laurel and I along with our traveling buddies J.P., Thumi, Leahla and Ryan (the spellings have been changed to protect the innocent, or because I don't know how to spell them) load our stuff into the Land Rover and head to some incredible rock formations, after these, we see some more lagunas (I have seen more than enough high altitude lagunas). Laurel on the other had has not, she is so intrigued by the lagunas and the flamingos living at high altitude that she ventures to close and manages to get herself stuck up to her thighs in mud and Leahla and I had to pull her out,
laurel loses a shoe in the process. After that we head to a hostel made completely of salt (walls, floor, tables everything) and spend the night there.
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Friday April 2, 2010
The next day we make it to the Solar of Uyuni Salt Flat, it is the largest salt flat in the world. We weren't anticipating it to be that exciting, but it turned out to be the highlight of the trip. It is so big that we can see nothing but white, in any direction. The lack of perspective makes it the perfect place to take some interesting photos and we did so. After the salt flat we head to the town of Uyuni where our day becomes very interesting. First our guide Walter almost runs out of gas getting us into town, then the immigration office where we need to get our Visas is closed because it is good Friday and election weekend. Walter manages to get someone from immigration to come to the office, then we head to the ATM to get cash to pay for our visas and it wont give us any cash. Leahla manages to convince the immigration guy to let us go to La Paz (she and Ryan are stuck in the same visa boat that Laurel and I are, and her Spanish is much better than ours). One hurdle passed now the next is getting the bus, Tierra Mistica jerks us around and overcharges us for the bus ride, and we have to put all our money together to get the six of us to La Paz and ride on two different buses (my 70 lucky euros from Munich
put us over the edge). We end up having to changes buses at 4 AM. Finally we arrive in La Paz on Saturday morning exhausted but happy to be in La Paz. I forgot to mention that it election weekend so they're not selling any liquor or beer
Saturday April 3, 2010
This morning we check out several hostels, something that Yo and I are not use to. It pays off we manage to book a double with private bath for about the same price we payed for dorm beds in San Pedro De Atacama. The six of us are traveling together until Monday. We don't do a whole lot, relax Laurel takes a nap, we do some shopping (my toiletries were lost/stolen in Uyuni), eat dinner watch some cable TV and go to Bed. A note about La Paz is everywhere you look there are street vendors trying to sell anything and everything. It is a very interesting city, I think my favorite big city so far.
Sunday April 4, 2010
Today is a very interesting day in La Paz. Everything is closed because it is election day. So we wonder the eerily empty streets. The only thing on the streets are people voting military police, and the occasional tourist trying to figure out what to do with themselves. After wondering the streets for hours we decide to eat dinner at one of the only places open, a steak house....big mistake. The service is terrible, they don't haven half of the things on the menu and they won't serve alcohol because it is election weekend. After dinner the six of us find a place that is serving alcohol....finally!!! we hang out and drink until 2 AM.