South America, Day Fourteen: Salt Flats & Uyuni, Bolivia

We’re currently sitting on a night bus from Uyuni to La Paz, so I thought now would be a good time for a catch up. Before we set off, let me give you an overview of our day:

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We set off in a 4×4 at 7am. First stop was Incahuasi Island (Tunupa Salt Flats). This was basically a vast rock-island in the middle of the salt flats, lined with hundreds of cacti (each of which grows a centimetre a year apparently). According to this formula, the oldest cactus was about five hundred years old (aka very, very tall). Nuts, really. I stood next to one of the ‘big boys’ just to give you an idea of how tremendously tall / old they are.

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Next stop: the salt flats. We took one hundred pictures and I went blind in the process. Miles upon miles of salt flats… sparkling, blinding white, like snow. The pictures will speak for themselves (again, thanks to Vicki Brand):

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Then we went to the “cementerio de trenes” (train cemetery) in Uyuni. Rows and rows of abandoned trains. It’s such a derelict, soulless and creepy place. This is where trains go to die.

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Once we’d taken a few shots, we got dropped off in Uyuni. Everyone was making the town sound like an empty hellhole but it was much better than we expected it to be. We had a cortado at one place, a pisco sour in another, and a llama steak (I know, soz!) and a bottle of red in another. (‘We’ meaning me, Vicki and Amanda). For some reason, Uyuni is full of Italian restaurants. Not the nice kind, mind you.

And now we’re on a thirteen hour night bus. We’ve been told there’s no wifi or TV for four hours because it’s a bumpy road. So, by the time we fall asleep (if we fall asleep), we’ll be woken up by the booming telly (probably in Spanish).

Weirdest conversation last night at the “salt hotel”:

Barbara (an annoying nineteen-year-old multilingual sunburnt Brazilian girl): I’m really impressed with you three.

Jo / Vicki / Amanda: Oh yeah, why’s that?

Barbara: Yeah. We – us Brazilians, I mean – tend to think that Europeans are dirty. That they never wash.

Amanda: What, English people??

Barbara: Europeans, yeah. They don’t wash every day but we, we like shower once, maybe twice a day. But you girls did it, you had a shower, you proved us wrong! **Big proud smile**

Jo / Vicki / Amanda: **Frowns**

……………………………………………..

Okkkkkkk. Thanks for that, Barbara. (In fairness to Babs, we hadn’t washed for a while up until that point but, in our defence, the water was either non-existent or ICE COLD).

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