Uyuni and the salt flats

Published: February 25th 2010
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We stopped by Uyuni for a day before starting our salt flat tour. Carnival was still happening all of the country so we caught another day of the festivities. We were both very happy to be there because it is very different from carnival in Oruro. In Oruro it is more organized and the costumes were more professional. During the parade we were expecting it to be some what similar but we were very wrong. There was still a huge water fight between everyone but this time the parade was involved. The people would throw their water balloons spray their water guns at the people in the parade. It was very interesting to see the differences between the two. We were happy to see the big carnival and then the more “real” small town carnival. The only down side was that everyone has spray bottles with foam inside and they love spraying each other right in the face. I must have got sprayed in the face over 10 times. One time I got sprayed in the eyes from less then a foot away with both my eyes open. It was very painful and after that incident I was ready to be done with Carnival. Also Eric and I both completely forgot that it was Valentines Day and only remembered when another American and an Internet cafe were talking about. Not a bad way to spend Valentines Day.

The next day we left for our three day tour into Chile. Our first stop was the salt flats. This is a huge desert that was once part of the ocean. The only thing that remains is the salt. The salt is over 12ft deep and there are lakes in the middle of the desert that we can walk out onto. During the tour we were in a 4 wheel jeep with six other travellers. It was not the most comfortable tour that we have taken. In the back of the jeep there is not much leg room so Eric had a little trouble with this. We spent a lot of time in the salt desert. Our fist stop was on an "island." We walked to the top of this island to see the view. The walk to the top was not very steep but it was difficult. We were in very high altitudes with very little oxygen and only a couple people from our group could make it to the top. At the top of the island we could see miles and miles and everything were covered by salt. We drove all day and didn´t reach the end until the end of the day.
Our second day was the most interesting of the three days. We started out by travelling to three different lakes. Inside these lakes there were white and pink flamingos and lots of them. During the stop on the second lake we started having car problems. If you were going to have your car break down this is the worst possible spot for it. We were hours away from any kind of civilization, the path we were taking was not an actual road so there was not much traffic, and no cell phone service what so ever(not that anyone had a cell phone anyway). When the car stopped our driver got right to work on the car. Along the way five other tours stopped to help. Hours later they found out that the car stopped working because we were sold faulty gas. The gas had to much water in it. We saw all the tour drivers replace the gas and get us back on the road. During this couple of hours we played on the lake and got to know the rest of the people on the tour really well. We had a great time during the break down. Our last stop before the day was over was to visit the rock trees. This area is very very windy near the ground so all the rocks are skinny on the bottom and thick on the top. It was a fun site but a little to cold and windy for my likening.
The next day was Eric and my last day in Bolivia. We woke up really early (4am) to make it to the top of a volcano before it got to hot. We made it there by five to see the geysers. Bursting out of these geysers were sulphur steam and water. This was my favourite part of the whole trip. At some points we could touch the steam and other parts were to hot. This was also the highest Eric and I have ever been. It was close to 18,000ft. After this trip Eric and I were ready to get out of the altitude. Onward to Chile

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