Saturday, 21 May 2011

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia - An Unworldly World

We took a long bus ride from Sucre to Potosi (the highest city in the world) but didn't stop there as there
was nothing but a mine that tourists can visit.  We have claustrophobia and didn't think it would be the best idea especially at our old age.

Anyhow, we went from Potosi to Uyuni, which was a complete shit hole.  There was absolutely nothing there.  We stayed at one of the most expensive places and the walls were dirty, there were hair and yellow marks on the floor was more like having a public loo in our bedroom.  Also, the whole town didn't have electricity until like 8pm so we just stayed in our smelly room to play cards.  In my opinion, it is not worth it to stay more than one night in Uyuni.  The only reason we were there was because we wanted to do the 3-day Salar de Uyuni Tour.

After a month of trekking, it was nice to be able to sit in a 4x4 and just relax, take photos and get driven to places.  In the 3 days, we visited the Train Cemetery which was just an area with parts of rusted trains but it was fun to see, the Colchani Town for a bit of shopping, all the different lagoons (red, green, white etc), greysers which was really cool, hot springs (we didn't go in because it was too cold and we couldn't be bothered to change haha...), the famous Arbol de Piedra (the stone tree) and of course, the Salar de Uyuni.

The Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flats in the world.  It is an unworldly world.  When we went, it was too wet to drive through to the Fish Island but not wet enough to see the whole place in reflection which kind of sucks. Nevertheless, it was an unreal experience.  The salt mounts were really cool, the little reflections we saw were unreal, the sky was crystal clear and it was just a unique experience to pick up a lump of salt from the ground and stick it in your mouth!!!  Like Machu Picchu, pictures cannot do it justice, you have to see it with your own eyes!

On the way, we also saw llamas, vicuñas (funny looking deers), flamingos, vizcachas (wild desert rabbit) and foxes (one got really close to me which was real cool).  The scenery was just amazing - beautiful valleys, colorful desert, stunning rock formations and so on.

The only negative thing about Uyuni and the 3-day trip was that it was bloody freezing.  It was COLD but well worth it because the whole experience was unique and it was an easy way for us to end our trip in San Pedro de Atacama in Chile.  We got a post-dated stamp from the Bolivian immigration back in Uyuni and it took about 5 seconds.  So when we crossed the Bolivia-Chile border, it was really easy.

We are now in San Pedro and the 6,006m Mount Sairecabur is our ultimate goal!!!