Sunday, November 24, 2013

Salt Life

We took a little side trip to explore the south-west region of Bolivia. This region is where you will find the world's largest SALT FLATS. Hence the appropriate title for the blog post, "Salt Life." Originally I learned that expression from a friend of mine who happens to love the beach and her salt water pool.

The world's largest salt flats located here in Bolivia... is called The Salar de Uyuni. Uyuni is the name of the town where all the tours are based out of. Javier and I took a three day excursion through the tour company owned by some brothers from the Uyuni Congregation.

These are the photos of this crazy place. The most diverse and other-worldly sites I've ever seen.

The mustached hero himself. Senor Elmer Lemus. The ride to Uyuni was LONG. When you are traveling here in Bolivia by bus, you need to be prepared to sit there for hours and hours. From Villa Serrano, it's a 5 hour ride to the big city in Sucre. Then, from Sucre it's another 3 hours uphill to the world's highest city, called Potosi. Then, from Potosi... another 5 hour bus ride to Uyuni. Yea. A lot of life wasted on the bus. You'll see why it's worth it though.

Halfway through the bus ride. You start getting ancy (how do you spell ancy?) Couldn't sit that long. So on the bathroom break, I started running around like a nut.

First stop on the salt flats tour. The Train Cemetary!
I found some dude rockin away.. looks like he was trying to make a music video.

The train cemetary is a playground of rusted metal. Javi begins climbing to his heart's content.

DAKAR - it's an offroad, all terrain motor vehicle race. And in January, they pass through Uyuni, Bolivia... Pretty neat. Everyone is pretty excited about it in Uyuni cuz of all that money it's gonna bring in. 

"asi, es la vida"

The Train Graveyard Plank #planktheworld

Javier Unleashed. He chases down a small group of Vicunas. These animals are in the llama family I believe. They are like the Bolivian version of deer.

Finally arriving to the Salar de Uyuni. A pure horizon of white. You would think the ground is dry and arid... but interestingly enough, the salt always stays moist and wet. It is also as hard as a rock...

So, after the hand stand, I fell and got scraped up. Salt hurts. A lot. 
The harvesters rake up piles of salt such as these. And ship it out. Never a shortage of the stuff.

Javier. Looking majestic on this salt-block wall. Looking out into the pure white distance.

Of course we are neutral. But it was funny how Bolivia left out the anglo-american world power's flags. USA and UK.

 Arriving to the "corazon del salar" The Island of Incahuasi. This place was once an island surrounded by an ocean. Which dried up and left the salt flats.

The island's most prominent inhabitants are the cacti. They are huge and they are everywhere.

Catching some Urban Barrels on the island of Incahuasi. #sopitted

They say this feller is 900 years old.. not sure how they know that. But I guess I believe them.

Messing around with the crazy "scale pictures" as Javi called it. Everyone that comes here makes some pics like these. It's like the salt flats tradition or something.

Salt Living. Where we stayed the first night.. most of the hostal was made of pure salt. except the ceilings. Felt hygenic.

LLAMAS ! One thing that we don't have where I live in Villa Serrano is llamas. And there are plenty of them in the altiplano.

Train tracks, deserts, and far off mountains. This place was desolate. Getting closer to the Chilean border...

Don't mess with Javier. He will turn into a giant and stomp on you

The SUV you ride in for 3 days straight. The brother who drove us, Gustavo, chills, makes you food, and shares his knowledge of the land with us.

 So many epic volcanic rock formations. Here's another quick urban barrel for ya. #alwaysbarrelled

The most famous of the rock formations in southern bolivia is the "Arbol de Piedra" .. rock tree.

My most favorite stop on the trip was this place. The Laguna Colorada. The craziest red colored lake you'll ever see.

Close to the highest elevation you reach in the southern bolivian tour, you find Geysers!

 After that, you swing by for a dip in the natural thermal springs.

The closest lake to the Chilean border. Laguna Verde.

Migracion Bolivia. The Bolivian-Chilean border. In a month and a half I'll be crossing over this same place to go to Chile. The visa situation allows Americans three months in the country. Then you gotta leave and renew it.

Whenever you see green.. you know there's a water source, like a river. And when there's a river, you can bet there's a herd of llamas somewhere nearby.

Even the truck...

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into some of the wild spots of Bolivia. At some points, looks like they could be from another planet. There are an endless amount of places to explore here. The country is so diverse, it never gets old.

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