There are a few things we had been looking forward to visiting on our trip across South America, two of them being in Bolivia of all places. The first place had been Death Road. We survived…that was so last week. We were on to the next much safer, yet very cool Salar de Uyuni.
We met our friends, Arlo and Oksana, in the small town of Uyuni where we set up a 3 day/2 night private tour. Just the four of us, a guide and a cook would start off at the salt flats and then travel through Southwestern Bolivia seeing who knows what. I didn’t research that far. All I cared about was the salt flats…and for good reason! They’re freaking cool! The morning of the first day, we headed out to the salt flats, camera in hand.
It’s funny how there is absolutely nothing out there but salty ground, some water and clouds but yet you can spend hours messing around with the camera. We were especially excited to make this trip with the Alaskans since they are more camera happy than us. We played for hours with the lack of depth perception as well as other general silliness. Everything is cooler looking on the salt flats.
Unfortunately, our friends both came down with something the day before our trip and weren’t having as much fun as we were (as you can clearly see in the last photo). They put in a good effort to stick it out but eventually had to give in and head back to Uyuni. We hated to see them go, but realized that it was for the best. We were then on our own for the remainder of the tour.
After dropping off Arlo and Oksana, we were off to our next destination, although we had no idea what or where that was. I had tuned that all out since all I was really interested in were the salt flats. The rest of the trip was a surprise! It turns out that the tour consisted of off-roading in our SUV, traveling from one really cool thing to the next. The first cool thing was Uyuni’s train graveyard.
Next we headed to where we would be stopping for the night. It was literally in the middle of nowhere with nothing around but llamas and mountains.
We’re used to all types of hostels by now but our accommodations for the next two nights were beyond anything we’ve experienced. We slept in a concrete room with some iffy looking beds and no electricity because of the storm that was rolling in that night. The bathroom was normal by Bolivian standards. The toilet was housed in an outhouse of sorts, and of course, had no seat and no flushing mechanisms. Often, out in the sticks, you just dump a bucket of water into the bowl to make it flush. No one ever cleans the toilet.
With no way to charge and use our electronics and only a candle to light our way, we passed the time by playing Rummy in the dining room. Our cook served us a pot of soup for dinner. After finishing the entire thing, we headed to bed. Only moments later our tour guide knocked on the door and informed us that our second course was waiting for us! This is typical to have two or three course meals in Bolivia, however, we thought that since they brought the entire pot out that that might be it for the night. After all, we were practically camping! We headed back to our table and stuffed the rest of the meal into our mouths. We have learned a lot of patience on this trip. I realize now that we never knew what was next and never really cared.
This tour was the coolest thing we’ve experienced in South America so far. It was so cool that it had to be broken up into multiple posts. Stay tuned for more of the most bizarre, awesome, freakish, absurd, strange, interesting stuff we’ve seen.
Thanks to Arlo and Oksana for allowing us to use some of the photos they took including number 5, 6, 9 and 10 of the fun salt flat set (among others in our slideshow). We alone took 200 that day and cut that down to the best ones here.