Sunday, 1 June 2014

Uyuni - The Salar

With a fully charged battery the cactus island was in our sights, remembering that Bolivia is the place that holds the most interest to me and we were ACTUALLY here ... despite one or two small hick-ups with unusual people in the wrong industry and the voltage reg issue things were going well.

It was cold, below zero but fine.

Thinking it would be hard not seeing the island to aim for etc I had butterflies but it soon became apparent very quickly that the 400 vehicles per day that visit the island left a motorway of black tire marks to follow, even without that you can eye up the mounts in the distance and keep them placed in the same place and go straight, I think it is impossible to get lost out there but apparently people have.

Arriving at the island we had the place to ourselves other than the 300 - 400 other people already there, yes it was like a supermarket carpark.

We also met two guys, a father and son team from Santiago on two F800GS’s, one being a 30 year anniversary ... noice, Maya had someone to talk too.

We went out on the salar and did our version of goofy pictures which was actually hard work, full credit to those who pull off some cool pics.

Ellen manage to balance May on her head on the centrestand, teh hands kept there just in case Maya fell off but perfect balance was maintained by the meditating mad moto mistress

Back to the carpark we talked with the reception and ticket lady and she said we could free camp anywhere, finding ourselves a nice spot in the late afternoon sun it was only 8 degs but felt nice in the sun.

Shortly after setting up a young fella came over on a quad and said we had to pay $30 Bolivianos each, we explained the lady said we could camp for free so he ok'ed that and left.

Later that evening a ranger came over and tried to tell us we needed to pay as well so “take two” we explained it again, he was insistent so we said we didn’t understand and that worked well.

On the edge of the salar there are these little ridges due to expansion and contraction, they stand about 100 mm high, they are in a crazy paving patten and quite cool, this is brown with a mix from the mud under.

A photo up a cactus ... prickly buggas

The evening lowers gently over the salar giving us some supreme quiet and stunning colour changes, although the darkness was falling the salar was coming alive for its goodnight transition

Capped off by a small and short fire we warmed ourselves for a while before hitting the bed early

Although ready to do over a bank we chose to sneak under the covers to fend off the cold .... which was not anything like we had prepared ourselves for

After a coolish night the day greeted us with a slight smattering of cloud enough just to take the wanted and welcomed sun to warm things up, nonetheless it was fine.

This is at 9.00am, -1

As it turns out this was the ugly face of the monster storm that followed us out and up, it knocked out the power in Uyuni for 3 days and turned Uyuni into a sandpit, snow at the southern end of the salar closing the roads and stopping the jeep trips, we got out the day before it all tipped.

Packing up we set to and headed back to Uyuni, our plans forcefully changed by the dying voltage regulator, a quick stop for photos and the lights on for 20 seconds for the famed photo shoot.

No biggy with the reg as Uyuni is a nice place anyway, mission was to wash Maya however she was still pretty clean to be fair with the salar dry as a bone.

All in all the salar was everything I thought it would be, Uyuni I thought was going to be a lot more "mud hut" than it was but have to agree with other travellers Uyuni does not sell itself to be a salar resort but we really enjoyed it all the same pub scraps and all

Potosi is next in line....

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