Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Salar de Uyuni

After arriving in Uyuni, which was originally set up around the junction of the railways from Chile and Argentina during the mining boom, we eventually found a place with secure-ish parking for the bikes at Hostal Marith for 25BS each. The follwing day, we went on a jeep tour of the Salar De Uyuni, largest salt lake in the world. After finding out that it was going to be partly underwater, there was no danger we were going to take our bikes out on that. The jeep picked us up from our hostal and we were first taken to the train graveyard, a collection of rusting old steam trains on the the outskirts of town. Not that exciting and there wern´t even any numbers for me to record in my spotters book.

An old chuff chuff

ollowing that, we were dragged into a village where they make things out of salt and you as a tourist are meant to buy salty-based stuff so I bought a hakki sak. The jeep then headed into the Salar, first stopping on the dry salt with the driver explaining in spanish a bit about the Salar. Thankfully Andreas speaks good spanish so at least we could get a translation. The jeep briefely stopped at the old salt hotel, which is no longer in use due to, well basically they were pumping guests sewage on to the salar so it was shut down. Then we headed out into Salar towards the Isle de Pescar, so called because it marginally appears like a fish when reflected on the horizon though its covered in cactii so maybe Cactus Island might have been more appropriate. The island first appears as a dot on the horizon and the driver tells us that its 80kms away. We looked at that dot grow bigger for a long time. The views were amazing though, as the salt was only under about 2" of water, its like a mirror of the sky so you feel like you´re actually flying through it. Once in the island, we were given (well I thought it was) a fairly foul lunch of cold llama steak and rice, after which we were free to wander the island, which contains a 1203 year old cactus. Its about 12m high so I guess they grow at 1cm per year then...

Salar de Uyuni fun

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