Published: August 3rd 2010July 25th 2010
We arrived at the border village of Argentina - Quiaca, 06 p.m.
Thomas' clock showed that we were roughly 3450 meters above sea level.
We didn't exactly need a clock to tell us that we were high up, it was getting really hard to breath!!
six o'clock in the morning so high up, is also equivalent with ice cold!! The incas stod huddled together in groups, wearing layer upon layer of woven carpets..
I've told Thomas time upon time that he has to grow "pointy elbows" here in the latin america.. Especially when the temperature is below zero!!
He's so nice to everybody (it's a good quality though), just not when freezing!
We finally managed to hail down a cab (cutting in line of course, as everybody else does), and drove to the border of Argentina - Bolivia (app. 5 min away).
Here's the ironic thing..
The border of Argentina opens at 08, so does the Bolivian.. What we didn't think of, was that there's a time difference of one hour.
I.e we stood one hour in no-man's land, freezing even more than imaginable!! We were not alone though, alot of other backpackers also had forgot this fact..
When we finally
entered the border town of Bolivia - Villazón, we were in a hurry (so we thought).
The busses for Uyuni were said to leave at around 09 p.m.
To make a long story short, you're never in a hurry to catch the bus on time in Bolivia. That is to say, If the bus isn't full!
The sellers stands outside on the street, screaming from the top of their lungs the name of the destination i.e: "POTOSI, POTOSI, POTOSIIIIIII", UYUNI, UYUNI, UYUNIIIII!!!!!!!", untill the busses are sufficient filled up..
So, our bus which were to leave at 09, finally left the city at around 10.30. This also because it was a necessity to stop by a local garage to change two of the tires.
It was a bumpy and dusty trip that took more or less 6-7 hours. It was not a pleasant ride as the hills on each side of the road were pretty steep, and the roads were not paved (just some parts of Bolivian roads are).. At one point our bus met another one in a curve uphills, not funny at all!!! But hey, the drivers really know how to maneuver their way on these roads!
this ride we agreed on one thing, the Bolivians really know how to torture people and they can easily drive people to madness!!
Imagine this; a couple of hours with "The best of rock ballads of the 90'ies", followed by almost two hours of the movie Anaconda 4?!? (dubbed)!!! And if this wasn't enough, a couple of hours with "The best of Yabba-Dabba-Dance music (as we call it in Norway), Haddaway, Dj Bobo, Capella, Corona, 2 Unlimited etc.
Boy oh boy!
We arrived Uyuni which lies 3600 meters above sea level, yupp.. still hard to breathe!
The little town, which main income is of the tourism, turns ice cold when the sun sets.
We also thought the people had a ice-frontier against us foreigners, but as we learned later - this is a part of their culture.. they are not smiling towards eachother either, some bolivians really looks agry or not interested - but it's probably just the way they are..
But, it's a tourist town - for sure!
Of course, the city is a spring board for travels into the famous Salar de Uyuni, and its surroundings.
we had read about a travel agency called "Oasis Odyssey Tours",
this was recomended by "Footprint". So, we ordered a three day trip! Bad idea!!
If you read this- do NOT sign up with this company!!!
On our day of departure, we spoke to our fellow travel mates. Two girls from France (Elise and Claire) and mother/daughter (Carolin and Susan) from Germany.
They had paid 100 bolivianos less than us.
This trip was supposed to cost 800B (without sleeping bag) 850 with.
Of course we had to inquire, and the lady in charge got mad at us!?!
Claire and Elise stood up for us, and helped us since neither Thomas or I speak enough spanish to keep up a discussion..
Needless to say; frech temperament is not underrated! (No pun intended Elise and Claire) ;o)
She started calling us names, and suddenly Claire and Elise were banned from the trip.
Of course this was not to happen!
During this huge dispute, Carolin broke into the "fight". Diplomaticly she managed to calm the situation, and finally Thomas and I got our 100B back, and we all got to leave together.
Our first stop on the trip was the "Train cemetary" (along with 20-50 other 4WD, stacked with tourists)
Unfortunately we can
not tell you much about the sights in this trip, as the driver/guide was NO guide!!
He was a good driver - that's it!!
That's another thing about this company. Who sends a "guide" which doesn't guide?!?
The other people in the car spoke exellent spanish, and when they asked questions he didn't answer!! (maybe he didn't know anything, we'll never know)
And once againg, on this three day trip we had to listen to Yabba-Dabba-Dance Vol. "many"..
But, despite this unfortunate situation with the tour company, we had an amazing experience out in the surreal and harsh nature at 4000m up in the Andes!!
The Salar, was fantastic. Just to imagine that this salt dessert once was a lake! It makes you think about the ever developing changes on our earth!
We had of course some fun with taking pictures out there (as everybody else), but once again the tour company fucked it up!
We only got 15 min to take pictures here! So, unfortunately our pictures aren't as good as hoped!
After this, we got more demanding and actually stayed a little longer at each site. Of course we wanted some good pictures from our trip!
Well, it's said that pictures say more than thousand words.. By looking at these pictures you'll see that this trip is worth it!! (even if the driver/companys' an ass)
We'll leave you to admire the beatiful scenery of Bolivias spectacular Altiplano!!!!
Hasta proxima nuestros amigos (",)
There are more photos below