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Friday, 15 July 2016

nothing but salt and deserts

Next stop: Uyuni.
On my way to the bus station I shared a taxi with a couple from China and started a really interesting conversation with them. In fact, their whole live was interesting. Traveling for more than one year, they only had one backpack for the two of them (smaller than mine!) plus a bag for their camera gear. We eneded up taking the same bus to Uyuni, which ended up being a beautiful bus ride as the scenery together with the sunset was absolutely breath taking. Upon arrival in Uyuni we were bombarded by locals trying to sell us rooms but the couple seemed to have a plan and asked me if I'd join them. As it was dark and I had no idea what I was actually doing I was glad to just tag along and in the end even found myself a cheap, single room for the first time in weeks (:

We went on the hunt for dinner and then looked at some tours. They wanted to stay an extra day in Uyuni and I already knew, which company I was going to take as it had been recommended by a lot of people I met in La Paz and Sucre.

So the next morning, the day had finally come to drive through the famous salt flats. see some volcanoes and experience the desert. I was beyond excited.
Our group consisted out of two jeeps and the jeep that I was in held three absoluely hilarious asian girls from New York City (they couldn't go two hours without their hand sanitizers) Oliver from the Netherlands with a hilarious surname (Kok) and Byron from Australia. We had some fun times, especially as our conservations usually were about poop, stories about the boy's conquests on their travels and my veggie dish that consisted out of a huge avocado.

The first stop was a train cemetry, which was great to climb around on. Next we visited a little village outside of Uyuni that processed salt as they had more than enough and sold crafts. The whole village in fact was made out of salt - the accommodation for that night would be as well!

Finally we made it to the long awaited salt flats and nothing can really prepare you for that. When you're gliding along a white ground with nothing but more white salt in front of you, you feel as if you landed on a different planet. It was beautiful. And of course, that's where our photoshooting began. Our guide was an absolute pro so he constantly tried to get pictures of all of us and even wanted to keep going after we had more than enough. Posing on top of salt, which thousands of years ago used to be a lake is pretty damn cool

After a breathtaking sunset with out guide taking even MORE pictures of us we jumped back in our jeep and headed for our 'hotel' made completely of salt. It was definitely an experience for it itself to sleep on a bed made of salt, eat at a table and chairs of salt - pretty glad the toilet wasn't made of salt to be honest! Played some hilarious UNO rounds before passing out in our beds catching up on some sleep for the next early morning

Cause I'm writing this way too many days (weeks) after I'm not really sure what we visited next. I think we passed a huuuge field full of lamas and alpacas again, and as you do in the highlands, casually strolled through the herds whilst pink flamingos flew over our heads.

Something which us girls came to face a lot during those three days were the toilet situations. I think we became the absolute pros for finding perfect locations to peacefully and privately relieve oneself. The freezing wind hitting our cold butts though is still a problem to be solved (:

That same day we drove up a volcano and probably ended up at 5000mmsm with a beautiful view. Got to dance around some geysers (horrendous smell!) and were told that some Asian guy actually fell in one and died a horrible death.

That night we arrived at our 'basic' accommodation which basically means not heating and electricity for the most part. It was freeezing but what we were about to do after our dinner was probably one of the  best things of the whole trip. With wine and beer bottles in hand we marched down a completely d - keep in mind we were staying in the middle of nowhere, no lights anywhere and definitely no roads - until we somehow reached (after I ended up on my butt ) a small house next to a freaking natural hot spring. Quickly changing into our swimsuits we pretty much ran into the steaming hot water and it was an absolute dream. The cold air around you whilst you're sitting in warm water and gazing up to nearly blinding stars is something I'll never forget. I'll also never forget that night during which I thought I was going to die. As I said, no electricity or running water and Joelle's stomach was playing up like nothing. Won't go into too much detail but I was up pretty  much the whole night and didn't think I'd actually be able to survive the next few hours in the car if it wasn't for the amazing NYC girls that gave me some antibiotics. 

On the last day we drove through the desert, saw some beautiful lagunas and before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye to the squad as I was the only one from our jeep crossing the border and heading to Chile. Another 2-3 hours and a couple natural toilet spots later our new van finally arrived in San Pedro de Atacama and believe it or not it was finally warm again (18 degrees after too many days in the negatives seems like summer!) and I had wifi to inform everyone that I was still alive (:

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