This is the old North Room blog – the new one is at www.north-room.com/blog

WTU: Bolivia

Posted in Bolivia, Travel by Mike on March 9, 2009
Salt flat splat flat.

Salt FLAT

G’day from the spare room of Lou & Ru’s house in Sydney!  We arrived here night before last after a 14 hour flight from Buenos Aires and have been spending some quality time with little Isla who is very cute and smiley!

Since our last post we’ve done Argentina, where we dutifully engorged ourselves on mouthwatering steak & lamb and fattened up quite nicely, thanks.  Little bit jet lagged at the mo so I’ll dive straight into the fact that this post is dedicated to the Bolivian leg of our trip.

Having spent a few days in La Paz, we headed down to Uyuni and spent three days cruising through its salt lakes and scenery.  La Paz was interesting to say the least – actually it was downright bizarre in some ways.  We declined the opportunity to take a ‘tour’ of the infamous (self-governing, corrupt) San Pedro prison – some inmates have their wives and children living with them in the cells that they ‘rent’ – and we also passed up the chance to purchase Llama foetuses which the Bolivians bury under new buildings as an offering to the Gods.  (Roller – I’ve got you a six-pack…)

But the Salar de Uyuni was possibly the most bizarre of the lot – as the world’s biggest salt flat, it’s a massive expanse of white salt that stretches as far as the eye can see in hexagonal patterns created through water evaporation.  It took us three days to cross it and also the mountains that fringe it to finally reach the Chilean border.  South America doesn’t do much on a small scale.

Anyhows, here’s some shots of us gooning around there, we’ll have some more from Chile and Argentina up in the next week or two as well.

Hope everyone back home is keeping well – we were dead chuffed to hear Ray, Charls, Susie & Paul’s news of their new nippers, congrats guys, we can’t wait to meet them.  And also happy b’day Dad – have a great one mate, we’ll be thinking about you!

Lots of love to everyone else (we continue to cry ourselves to sleep on a nightly basis thinking about you all).

M&C x

 

"We speak English" proved highly amusing - we paid an extra 50 Bolivianos for an English speaking guide who spoke Spanish the whole way.  When we told him we'd paid extra, he said he did speak English - he just chose not to.

The "We Speak English" claim proved highly amusing - we paid an extra 50 Bolivianos for an English speaking guide/driver who spoke Spanish to us for the whole trip. When we told him we'd paid extra about 30 minutes in, he said he did speak English - he just chose not to.

 

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Note the bullet hole.

Bullet hole duly noted.

 

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Bolivia's train graveyard.

Bolivia's train graveyard.

 

I'm gonna get in there.

Climb on

 

Here I am.

And then in. (Taken shortly before being escorted off the premises)

 

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Claire, Chris & Danielle soul searching after three hours of intensive Spanish narration from Roberto, the 'english speaking' driver.

Claire with Danielle and Chris. We spent some time soul searching after 6 hours of intensive Spanish commentary by our 'english speaking' driver.

 

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Dear Ray & Anne.  I write to report that in a moment of abject hunger, I scoffed your daughter up like Burrito.  Tasted like chicken.

Dear Ray & Anne, I write to report that in a moment of abject hunger, I scoffed your daughter up like a Burrito. Tasted like chicken.

 

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Line

Line & Marie from Denmark. I didn't know that Danish people should never be washed above 40 degrees centigrade.

 

The Bolivians have made inventive use of their most abundant commodity.  Not that weather-proof though.

The Bolivians have made inventive use of their most abundant commodity. Not that weather-proof though.

 

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Yeeeeee hahh!!!!

Song 2?

 

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This is the Salar's Salt Hotel.  Everything is made of salt.  Really wish someone had told us to take our own toilet paper.

This is the Salar's Salt Hotel. Everything is made of salt. Really wish someone had told us to take our own toilet paper.

 

True or False: the word "salary" comes from the fact that in the old days, wages were often paid in salt.

Apparently, the word "salary" comes from the fact that often, in the old days, wages were paid in salt ("salar" - y). And ever heard of someone not being worth their salt? (Thanks to Isla's parents for these timely pieces of triv!)

 

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Fish Island.  Not sure why it's called as such but may have something to do with the salar being a lake thousands of years ago.

Fish Island. Not sure why it's named as such but it may have something to do with the salar being covered in water thousands of years ago.

 

Nice splash of colour.

Some relief from the salar's brilliant white.

 

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I honestly couldn't tell you why we did this.

A combination of heat-stroke and cabin fever?

 

The Bolivia/Chile border.  Bin there.

The Bolivia/Chile border. Bin there.

 

Behold, the legacy of the world's greatest salesman.  An Italian, in the 1920's, took a boat load of bowler hats to Bolivia to sell to the local men.  They didn't want them, so he convinced the women to buy them instead.

Behold, the legacy of the world's greatest salesman. An Italian, in the 1920's, took a boat load of bowler hats to Bolivia to sell to the local men. They didn't want them. So he convinced the women to buy them instead.

 

1/4 of a pound of midget gems please.  Actually, gimme a couple of those Llama foetuses whilst I'm here.

1/4 lb of Midget Gems please, Fernando. Actually, gimme a couple of those Llama foetuses too whilst I'm here.

 

all images copyright North Room Photography.

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