Then we had this conversation after breakfast:
Jo: Is that blood in the sink?
Vicki: I don’t know. I’m not looking at it.
First stop: Laguna Colarado. At least twelve llamas were bathing in the coloured lagoon – in the immediate distance, flamingos dived their beaks into the water beneath them. The blue of the lagoon was complemented by the red water in the distance, the white salts and yellow vegetation in the foreground, and the surrounding mountains reflected back at themselves in the water, all while a hundred flamingos danced to the rhythm of the harsh, cold wind.
Next stop; rock formations. More rocks.
We needed a wee so we decided to go behind a rock, rather than the hole that was supposedly the ‘bano’.
Half way to nowhere, we briefly stopped to take a snap of the rabbit-like-thing who was nibbling on a flower. Not sure where he came from. Or the flower for that matter. (I later learnt that he was a chinchilla).
So… after the rabbit-thing, we saw a couple more lagoons… and more flamingos… but we’re a bit lagooned-out now so I won’t go into detail this time. That’s what the photos are for (thanks Vicki Brand).
Then we had lunch. Sitting outside. By a lagoon that smelt funky. We had tuna, rice, sweetcorn, white cheese (that had no flavour whatsoever), avocado, tomatoes and coca cola (apparently it kills all the bacteria so we’re drinking it by the gallon load, which would be fine if there were toilets).
After lunch, we went on a massive, bumpy drive. I think we drove over a mountain. And there’s not much leg room in our 4×4 – especially in the backseats.
Now we’ve stopped by a volcano but no one really gives a shit because we’re all exhausted. I’ve had three ‘natural banos’ today – one behind a bush, and two behind rocks. I’m leaving a part of myself everywhere in this bathroom-forsaken country.
Back to Chile…
I forgot to say that the mosquitoes there love ankles. My ankles. I’m bitten to buggery.
Back to Bolivia…
Oh yeah, last night at the “hotel”, some Bolivian kids sung for ages. They didn’t shut up. Everyone thought they were cute. And took photos. I didn’t. Last thing these little tykes need is encouragement.
Needless to say, there’s no wifi here. There’s a rumour that we might not be in a shithole tonight. Watch this space.
So yeah… they were rumours. We’re still in a shithole. A nicer shithole, granted. The toilets are a lot better and there are showers and the water isn’t entirely freezing. Plus, me and Vicki get our own room. We got excited when they told us we were staying in the salt hotel (there’s a hotel here somewhere made entirely out of salt) but the only salty thing about this place is the floor. There’s no such thing as wooden floorboards or carpet in this part of Bolivia (I think we’re in a place called San Juan), so they use salt instead. You can’t take your shoes off… especially if you’ve got a cut or something.
There’s sweet FA to do here so Vicki gave me a fishtail plait and now we’re sitting in a cold dining hall being ever so anti-social by writing our diaries.