Published: March 2nd 2012February 28th 2012
Up early for the start of breakfast at 7.30 am. There was a change in the itinerary due to new regulations regarding foreign trucks crossing the desert so the bus did not leave until 10.00ish but that was dependant on how fragile some people might be due to the excesses of the night before! We took the opportunity to wander round the Market in Uyuni (which in the warm morning sunlight suddenly became a rather nice little town with a totally different feel from the night before) and went to the Internet cafe to update a few more days of our blog. However, there was insufficient time to complete all entries before we had to return to the hotel to load our things onto the bus. Another interesting drive on the edge of the desert with snow-capped mountains in the distance. We stopped for lunch by some small ponds with flamingos settling on until the air brakes of the lorry made them take flight in formation. They did return eventually but not really close enough for close-up photos which was a pity as they were really quite pretty and graceful. We travelled onwards and stopped again at some interesting rock formations.
Crossing the desert
Allegedly, it is a Dragoman tradition for the men to stand on the high rocks and remove all their clothing and stand atop the rocks baring all high above the rest of the travellers standing below. Not sure Ed wants to post the resultant photos!
We then carried on towards our accommodation for the night which was at Villa Mar a strangle little place in the middle of nowhere near a quarry with a cliff overlooking the village with a forgotten plane wing on the top. Anyone wanting a 'Thelma and Louise moment´ could walk up the slope to the top of the corresponding cliff to find a rusted out car teetering on the edge of a sheer drop!
There were no shops just a few delapidated and decrepit buildings/houses. The rooms cost about 6 dollars a night. Only two doubles with ensuite so we tossed a coin and ended up with the double without ensuite. Aah well - the communal toilet and shower was OK and apparently the other double had a nasty smell coming from its bathroom so not a bad miss..... We had a shower and then a wander round the village and
Crossing the desert
Strange green plant with medicinal qualities
then tea outside (made with the bus gas rings and kettles).. It gradually got a lot colder so we sat in the inside communal room used by the group for cooking so probably our clothes will smell of garlic and onions for the next few days..... Stir fry with noodles. The cooking group didn't quite get the timings right for the pasta and the spaghetti was more like squidgy dumplings and stuck to the serving spoon. (Someone thought it was mashed potato). Shouldn't complain - it's our turn to cook in a couple of days...... There was also some chorizo and sausage as additional flavours forthe non-vegetarians amongst us and for those that wanted.
Early start planned for about 5.00am the next day in order to cross the desert with the aid of a local guide as there are no roads or signs and so that there is sufficient time to cross the border into Chile. We therefore went to bed early and slept on top of the bedclothes in our sleeping bags as the sheets and blankets looked more than a little suspect!