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Salt Flats

The small village of Uyuni is certainly stuck in time.

Arrived around 8pm to immediately be greeted by tour companies haggling trips to the famous salt flats. We had been traveling with a Brazilian who helped us find the connection bus across town in Potosi, so we felt obligated to go with the same company he booked for the flats. We later found out we were charged double for the one day trip (150pesos per day is average) but everything was so cheap in Bolivia that we took it as an inexpensive lesson.

The air was extremely thin as our lungs were still trying to acclimate to the 15,000 feet elevations. Due to the high altitudes the climate dropped to freezing temperatures and our heads were swimming in nausea. We were able to find a nearby hostel and the best pizza in all of Bolivia, although the modest owner claimed it to be in Uyuni only.

Woke up early to walk about the six street town in search of warmer clothes. Perhaps it was the exchange rate of $1 to 7 Bolivian Pesos, but everything was significantly cheaper here. Found some warm mittens for $1.50 and watched the older Cholita mend the hole in less than 5 minutes while the other ran off for our change.

After seeing photos of this place where Star Wars was later filmed, I knew it would be a trip of ecosystems. I was originally disappointed that we were not visiting during their rainy season (Jan-March) because that is when you can see the reflections of the sky. Regardless, we were amazing by the endless miles of salt.

The SUV took 6 of us on a private tour across their salty plains, pausing at a cool abandoned train yard and even an oasis full of cacti. I was amazed by the height of the giant cactus scattered around this small island surrounded in a sea of salt. How did they even survive with all the salt?! It was certainly the largest salt flat in the world; nothing but white salt and mountains for miles.

After our exciting outback adventure, we stopped for one more oven-fired pizza. Time slipped away and we almost missed our night bus. Jake impressed me by running after our bus that just left the station. The air was thick and the altitudes slowed us down like a sloth in a bad dream. Somehow, he was sprinting up the hill and caught the bus in time for the driver to open the doors and help us toward the ancient city of La Paz.

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