Steve's Adventures in South America
I bought a one-way ticket to Venezuela and I'm not coming back until my tube of toothpaste runs out...

Salar de Atacama :: Here Be Giants!

Not only do I leave the Refugio in the morning but I also leave my pack towel and pyjama bottoms. Doh! We drive out onto Salar de Atamama, the largest Salt Flat in the World! We motor at speed straight out onto it, this vast expanse of salt is flatter than Kate Moss's chest! Flat, white nothingness for as far as the eye can see. The venue of choice for land speed records! With such a perfect white background our driver introduces us to some crazy people perspective photos. So guess what we did for the next half hour!?

Land of Midgets Salar de Atamama Giant Bottle of Water

We speed on, apparently directionless towards a black dot on the white horizon. As we approach the black dot grows and manifests itself into Cactus Island. I bet you can't guess why? We pay something like 60p as an entrance fee and follow a trail around the island. From up high, on top you still can't see where the salt flat ends - it truly is huge!

Land of Nothing Cactus Island Sea of Salt

We speed on across the faceless flat to the Salt Hotel. A small building built entirely from bricks of salt, even the tables, chairs and beds. As nice as it is Sean and I head outside instead to take more cool perspective photos.

"Giant Steve Crush Sean!" "Arrrrgh!" You Can Not Hide, There Is No Escape!

A bit further on we observe mounds and mounds of salt being piled up by workers. This salt gets purified and ends up on your dining table!

Salt Hotel Salt Flats Salt Mounds

We arrive at Uyuni and are given our first taste of a real Bolivian town. It's a dusty, desolate border town and is full of market stalls. Most (if not all) the women wear the traditional dresses and pinnies with long platted hair and a bowler hat (as stipulated by Spanish decree a few hundred years ago). We check into a hotel for the night, 70 Bs each (£5) for an en suite triple room. I change all my Chilean pesos into Bolivars and find an open cafe for dinner. I have me a beer, Llama Steak & chips. It was beautiful! We buy a bus ticket to Potosi for tomorrow morning, a 6 hour drive for 30 Bs (£2).

Uyuni Market Uyuni Town Centre Typical Bolivian Woman Kumi, Ana, Isabelle, Sean, Monika & Steve

I receive some "interesting" news from home in an email which substantially wierds me out. I feel a need for lots of beer. As our jeep is still together we head out to Los Loco, a French bar! I loose a game of "Round the World" darts to Sean. I put it down to me drinking more than him. Then an American guy comes over and says "hello!" He knows me and I rack my brains to remember him... It's Blake, a geezer I met on my very first night in South America in the hotel in Caracas. We can't chat for too long as he has female company. He only has a couple more weeks to go before he flies home. Everyone leaves until it's only Ana and I left. We drink beer until the bar closes. We were hoping to find another late night bar for a couple more but it was not to be. Bed for 01:00.

Posted by Steve Eynon