Published: September 29th 2011September 19th 2011
After the debacle of the previous night we woke up early (6.00am) and caught the 7.00am bus to La Quiaca and then on to start our Bolivian adventure!! Upon waking up Hayley said that she was feeling a bit ill and her stomach was feeling wierd. I just presumed it was indigestion or something related to the half a cow we all ate the night before. However, after just an hour on the bus she started taking a turn for the worse and started saying that she didn´t think she was going to make it to La Quiaca! At which point we pulled into the city of Jujuy. At this point I thought she was being a bit melodramatic and convinced her (and myself) that it would pass and we would get to La Quiaca just fine. Another hour later it was evident she really was ill and she really wasn´t not going to make it to La Quiaca!! By this time we were well on our way and the next stop wasn´t until Tilcara (the small town we had just returned from on our road trip!). Over the next 2 hours Hayley was repeatedly sick in the bus´toilet
(which really pissed off the driver, but he deserved it because he put some god awful films on at ridiculous volumes!). For the last 10 mins of the bus journey Hayley had resigned herself to lying down in the coach aisle...
We finally arrived in Tilcara and made the walk to the same hostel we stayed at before, the bloke was quite confused when we turned up, but happy all the same. Hayley collapsed in bed and i played the doting boyfriend for a while, making sure she had water etc., then me and Steve headed to a cafe to have a beer. We spent the entire day there, eating pizza, playing chess, cards and watching sport. We went back to check on Hayley and then headed back to the same cafe for dinner, I contemplated that although Hayley being sick was not great it had allowed me and Steve a chance to catch up on old times...silver lining and all that.
The day started as the previous had ended, with Hayley being bed ridden and me and Steve in the cafe eating pizza. Me and Steve decided to take a hike somewhere so i popped
to the supermarket and got Hayley some tomato soup (which they didn´t have so i got tomato pure instead) and fruit in case she got hungry whilst we were away. Me and Steve then set out on our hike up the hill that the bike rental bloke had told us was extremely difficult a few days before. The track was actually easier than the one we had attempted on bikes!! We walked for around an hour and half before deciding to turn back because it was ridiculously windy and we had not thought to bring any jumpers. On the way back i had a bit of a history lesson of Steve about such diverse topics as the Cuban missile crisis and the World Wars and we debated long and hard what superpowers we would most like to have and whether we would divulge our identities to the public should we ever get these superpowers.
Once we got back to town, we checked on Hazza and then headed back to our old haunt for some pizza and to watch a NFL game between San Fransico 49érs Vs. Dallas Cowboys that left us both laughing intensely at the appalling standard of Tony Romo and Alex Smith (QB´s for each team).
Hazza felt much better in the morning so we caught the morning bus to La Quiaca. Steve´s attempts at catching some zzzz´s on the bus were foiled by a bloke sitting behind him who would tell a joke after joke in Spanish and then laugh insanely loudly at each of his jokes.
Upon arrival at La Quiaca we caught a cab to the border crossing and got our passports stamped. We inquired about our tax refund forms (that we had got when we bought our expensive mountain jackets in Buenos Aires). The bloke told us to go to a building opposite, so off we went. Once there the bloke took our forms, stamped them and then gave them back to us...but there was no sign of money. I, in my best sign language of rubbing my fingers together, inquired where was the denero! (I had to hold back the urge to quote "Showwww me the money!!!"). The bloke finally told us that we had to collect the money from a bank, any bank, in town. So off we hopped in a cab to the nearest bank. I grabbed a clerk, who spoke pretty good English and explained that i had been told to collect my money here. He looked confused at the forms and seemed to ask every other clerk in the bank before coming back saying he had never seen one of these form before in his life and the bank were not about to hand over money to us gringos without knowing what the hell the form was. At this point i was raging. We hopped in another cab back to the border and went back to the office where we had got the form stamped. This time it was a different person...a woman. I tried to explain the situation to her and what we had already been through but she just looked at me as if i was a child and had this disgusting smirk on her face that i wanted to wipe off repeatedly with a heavy blunt object. I stormed out and, after i had collected my broken psyche back into Dr. Jekyll mode, I murmured something about being stuck in Longlete and resolved to simply get the hell out of this country that was run by retarded marsupials.
After checking into Bolivia we made to long walk to the train station with our big bags. We bought our train tickets to Uyuni first class (which still only cost us 11 quid). We had about 3 hours to wait so we headed out in search of food. After asking an old lady selling oranges where was good to eat we ended up in a really local place where we stuck out like a sore thumb! We had no clue what we ordered and resorted to pointing at a plate of food that another woman was chowing into on the table opposite. The lady brought out a bowl of watery broth with a solitary piece of meat floating in it. I my head i had the advise of people who had all visited Bolivia and told us not to drink the water under any circumstance...but we were all too hungry and chowed down anyway! Then, to our surprise the waitress brought out another full dish of meat with rice! and it wasn´t too bad either! After finishing that she brought out desert, which was this fruit yoghurt sealed in stupid packaging that resulted in me cutting it open and spilling it all over myself! How much did you pay for this wondrous feast?, i hear you shouting vehemently. Well...it cost little over 1 quid each...bargain!
We headed back to the train station and caught the train to Uyuni. As soon as we stepped on the train they started playing music videos from the 70´s which were comically bad! We got fed cheese and crackers around 5pm and were told that dinner would be served at 10pm. However, 10 rolled by and no sign of dinner, until around 10.30 i was too hungry and went to the dinner cart to check the situation. We were told we could eat then and there and we hungrily sat down to order. What we didn´t realise was that we would have to pay for dinner...obviously, because even though we bought a first class ticket and it said something about having 2 meals on the ticket we have to pay extra. We would soon learn that you have to pay for everything in Bolivia!
After watching such classic films as ´Thor´and ´Percy Jackson the lightening thief´ we arrived in Uyuni at 1.00am. It was freezing!! and we hurridly walked to 200m to the hostel we wanted to stay in (Piedra Blanca Hostel). Luckily they had vacancies and we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the beds!! In fact we muttered to ourselves, as we drifted off to sleep, that they were probably the best beds we had stayed in yet!.