Saturday, March 19, 2011

Uyuni Salar-Largest Salt Flat in the world! Best adventure of the trip so far! Navigating the world with no GPS equals craziness! Facinating Pictures!

So today I woke up in the interesting little town of Uyuni.

I was informed today that I would be highlighted in a local El Paso Magazine http://thestantonmagazine.com/


It may not be the front page of the National Nicaragua Newspaper like I was in a few months ago, but its still quite nice.

Also on a quick note, not to brag but visually speaking, I think that this post will be the best visual post in the history of expeditionsouth.com 

So, as I mentioned passing this flooded lake of Uyuni was impossible on the bike. So I hoped on an SUV to take me to the center of the world’s largest salt flat.

Once again I was bombarded by hoards of people on the street trying to sell me nice expensive tours.

This place was like Cuzco Peru, extremely touristy.

Turns out there was Japanese guy at the hostel I was staying at that had been traveling around South America for the past 2 years! That was a little too long for my taste, but props to him!


Shipped all the way from Japan!
good luck writings from his friends
So I hopped on the SUV I booked the day before, and negotiated price of course. I had the pleasure of being accompanied by a great guy from Spain that was also on the tour. Needless to say I was entertained the entire time with great conversation and stories. Gotta love the Spanairds!

Just like everyone I’ve met, he was baffled, amazed and confused about my tripod invention. But he was mostly impressed.



After our nice confusing moment, we were off for a side trip to a railroad museum or aka-rail road junk yard. 

Looking cool with the guys
There were steam engines from the 1800’s and everything. It was neat.


Einstien lives!





Gotta get that great picture no matter what!


I found my life motto on a random train in Bolivia. That's the way life is!



Awesome and funny writing



Had some photography fun.



It was a small taste for the photography adventure soon to come at the salar (salt flat).

Included with the tour was a complementary help the random guy on the side of the road fix his engine experience for a while.


I have a feeling I could out run the police in Bolivia with such a deteriorated vehicle if I needed to.


Random trying on various hats moment.




Saw a salt horse.



We were also told we would have to travel a bit out of our way to the “Salt Hotel’ to pick up 2 Japanese tourists to take into the salt flat as well.

View from the salt hotel

The hotel was very nice, made entirely out of salt; it was quite luxurious in its own special way. At $140 US a night, taking a few pictures did the same as staying there for me.







So we pickup up the Japanese couple and we were off to the World’s largest salt flat.

We hopped on the roof for a better view



Entering the salt flat it looked ok at first, nice and different but not spectacular or anything.

As we ventured further in it started to get awesome.




Then cool




Then amazing



Then spectacular!




Then when the horizon met the sky and couldn’t tell which was which it became indescribable



Then after about an hour into the salt flat we arrived at the salt flat hotel right in the middle of the lake.

Obviously it was the cool place to be





Had some lunch inside along with hundreds of other tourists doing the same thing. Oddly enough the entire compound was crowded with Japanese tourists. Out of the 50 people inside the place eating, 45 of them were Japanese. I joked with the Japanese couple that we were with, that it was like a Japan convention in Bolivia.



Salt statues inside

salt clock

I busted out with my thank you, your welcome, hello, etc in Japanese and made some friends while I ate.

Outside I walked around a bit and took some nifty pictures.



The effects of the large salt flat allowed for some cool stuff. During the dry season when the salar is flat you can do the same thing. I believe each season has its own beauty. This one I believe is the better, but I’m going to have to come back with the future kids someday to really find out. “cough” “cough” good excuse for another trip right?

As I walked by some Japanese people, I did a double look at one of the guys. He looked familiar but I couldn’t remember from where. Eventually my brain kicked in and I figured out I was sitting next to him on the train to Machu Pichu in Peru, and now I randomly recognized him just walking around randomly on the salt flat in Bolivia!

Bad picture of the Japanese dude I recognized

I went over to him and asked him if he was in Peru and such. He obviously didn’t remember right away who I was. I said farewell and wished him well. Later on about 10 minutes later he came over to me yelling and screaming in excitement and said he finally did remember who I was and we laughed at our meetings in such strange places. I have my moms curse of remembering people in crazy detail after only one meeting, its pretty cool but a curse at the same time.

It seems people are following me around the world or I’m following them, it’s quite unsure at this moment. 

Like I said, these meeting of the same people in different countries is continueing to be very scary.

As I walked away from the crowds off into the distance the true beauty of this place started to kick in.



It was amazing! Probably on the top three sights I’ve ever seen in my life!



I couldn’t tell where the sky began or ended.



It was like a mirror was put on the floor.



I don’t know if it was the fact that it took me almost a week of the most awful road conditions, various crashes, food deprived or physical torment to get here, but it seemed like the best moment of the trip so far.




I did my now famous air jump I’ve done at such sites like Machu Pichu and on top of Cerro Negro volcanoe in Nicaragua. But I think this time it was truly the best time to do it. Doing high jump all those years in high school seemed to fainlly have paid off.



We then headed off into the distance some more with another SUV to get away from the crowds. We were joined by another 12 Japanese tourists.

So how many Japanese, Mexican, and one Spaniard can you fit on top of an SUV?



Getting out totally alone in the distance was fantastic.











Used some Mexican and Japanese creativity to have some more fun.













In the end I organized everybody to take a picture together. It was relatively easy with all Japanese, as I’m sure you’ve seen on the funny Japanese TV shows they tend to work well in large groups.



It reminded me of my University days of coaching an entire Chinese Soccer team. Good memories.



We finally set out of the Salar and back to town.









The following day I set off to reach the border with Chile to the south of Bolivia.