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Thursday 25 Mar 2010
Uyuni, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni Day 1

BITE-SIZED ENTRY

Met up with my group this morning: 2 Americans from Hawaii (Shannon and Paul), 2 Argentinian girls (names can't remember) and later on Atsuko from Japan (who would proceed to teach me loads of Japanese over the coming days ... I just wish I could remember it all Embarassed)

Thankfully a great bunch of people, I picked a good company this time Laughing

All of us, except for the Argentinians who weren't going to Chile, would end up hanging out together for the next week, well into arriving in Argentina via Chile

Train Cemetary
Train Cemetary

First stop on the tour was a "Train Cemetary" where hundreds of rusted-out trains are left to rot in the desert. I couldn't understand our Spanish-speaking guide, so not 100% on the history behind the place, but it made for some interesting photos (when people weren't walking on top of the trains all the time of course!)

Bumped into 4 Irish girls from Dublin here on a 6 week trip. That's ONLY the 3rd group of Irish I've met in around 3 months... I guess the recession back home is really keeping us Irish at bay.

Next stop was the main attraction: the Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat.

Look at all that salt...
Look at all that salt...

Being a vast expanse of sparkling white against a stark blue sky, stretching as far as the eye can see, it's really quite something to see. You can even taste the salt directly from the ground you stand on and it tastes just like sea salt, without any refining required (the whole Salar was formed after a section of sea evaporated millions of years ago). We arrived just afted the wet season (when the Salar becomes a full lake) so we didn't get to see any mirror reflections, but conversely this also guaranteed that we didn't have any trouble getting stuck in the wet salt and have to push-start the car (which happens quite a lot apparently!)

You've gotta watch out for sunburn on the Salar as the sun's rays hit you from all directions due to the ground reflection...

Incidentally the car, a Land Cruiser, was exceedingly comfortable with plenty of space for the 6 of us (2 in the back, 1 in the front and 3 in the middle). This seems to be the standard for all the excursions (from what I could see).

Of course, the vast expanse of the salt flats is famous among backpackers for the perspective photos so when everyone wanted to get their perspective shot, I became the photographer of choice .. doh.. ah well at least it was over quickly Wink

Cacti on Fish Isle
Cacti on Fish Isle

After this we visited Isla de Pescado (Fish Island), which is named as such since it looks like a fish from the distance as you approach due to the reflection of the island on the ground in the searing heat. It was such an interesting place, and probably my favourite place on the first day, since it has so much life on it, despite being in such a barren location. Cacti in their 1000s swarm all over the surface, plus there is an abundance of fossilised coral from when the area was under the water.

Here we had Llama steaks for lunch, which tasted kind of like kangaroo meat to be honest (not quite as tough!). I chucked on a few sprinkles of salt from the ground for good measure.

Later on we ventured to our hotel and I was pleased to discover it was made completely out of salt (I'd previously thought it was necessary to stay at the $100 Hotel de Sal in Uyuni to get this experience). All the bricks and even the room numbers on the doors were formed out of salt and, from what I could make out, so was the mortar! It had all the amenities of a normal hotel, including hot showers and electricity, and we all shared twin rooms.

Need some salt on yer dinner? Just take a chunk out of the salt-table .. or your salt chair... handy!

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South America Twenty Ten

Travel blog by peterforan

Moiagasm!

Moiagasm!


After previously dipping my toes in Latin America via trips to Cuba and Central America, it's time to go for the big splash! 3 1/2 months to take in as much as I can, armed with little more than my camera, laptop and a few dodgy Spanish phrases.

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Photo Album

  • Salar de...

    Uyuni

    Bolivia

    Salar de Uyuni contemplation
  • Train Cemetary

    Uyuni

    Bolivia

    Train Cemetary
  • Train Cemetary

    Uyuni

    Bolivia

    Train Cemetary
  • Train Cemetary

    Uyuni

    Bolivia

    Train Cemetary