Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
I get up completely damaged. The dinner was not good for my stomach to digest, but breathing is easier now. Christina has heavy headache. She gets a rika rika tea, which may help against altitude. It is not hot. Opposite.
Better take the Rika Rika tea with supporting Seractil and a Diamox. Something will help.
We start not so early, breakfast 07:15 am, leaving at 08:00 am. You can pay only Bolivianos or USD. We donot have Bolivianos (I didnot encounter a cash machine on the last 400 km), so it is always good to have George Washington with us. The hotel lobby is quite basic, biggest things are the tip box followed by the oxygen bottle.
Always good to have our own cereals with us. Breakfast is very limited, some (fresh) sweat bread, scrambled eggs, marmelade, sugared cornflakes, nescafe. Anyway, we are in the middle of no-where. At least there is breakfast.
Elia, our guide, is even more damaged but smiles. She always smiles. The staff quarters are very noisy and not really isolated, she tells. But no worries. I like the Bolivians, they always smile and seem happy.
The plan is to leave Hotel Tayka del Desierto and go up north along Laguna Pastos Grandos to San Cristobal town. Have lunch there and then follow the main road to Uyuni, get a ATM, then go to the Hotel del Sal Luna Salado.
We start to drive the Ruta des las Joyas Altoandinas a famouse Mountainbike track. Weather is more rainy and windy. First we meet mr. curious Desert rabbit (according to our driver Chavier good to barbecue). Elia says he is hoping for food, so we share our emergency cereal keks.
Desert rabbit eats out of my hand and has a cats tail.
Road is getting rougher.
We come to the first lake and walk a little bit.
We drive on between white mountains. There is a rainbow in the sky circeling the sun. Elia is unimpressed “It is always like this.”. We are impressed.
Full circle rainbow over our heads:
We stop at some weird stones, and walk around. Another guide is shouting loud, searching for his tourists. Better not get lost here.
We continue to San Cristobal, where we called to order Menu 1 for lunch. Somehow Chavier has an extra deal with them and gets a schnitzel with fries. He drowns it in something like Ketchup.
My lunch menu 1 is something like a typical bolivian mix:
Chavier looks more happy after his Schnitzel:
Elia had the mix, too, and smiles (as always)
After lunch we walk a little bit through the town, visit the local market. The town (including the church) was relocated 10 years ago by a japanese mining company. They had to rebuild the houses, build new schools, small hospital, provide jobs. Elia says thats the good on Evo Moralez social oriented government.
They even moved the whole church.
We continue our drive to the train cementary close to Uyuni. We are still above 4.000 masl. I have to go the toilet every 30 minutes. I hope this stops as soon as we go down.
We are already tired. So our driver brings us to todays Hotel de Sal – Luna Salada, the salt hotel. Everything is made out of salt. Walls, floor, steps, bed, the room smells like salt and has a powerful heating but split beds. A lot of public spaces, a closed bar (the hotel is fully booked, so they need the full staff to provide buffet, therefore no bar ?!), a spa (water is muddy because of the rain, so no jacuzzi. Hot water in the spa is broken. But we can turn on the steambath and in 40 min you can use. No towels). Hot water is limited, but power is on all night. Heating works.
Food is buffet and well done. Lots of vegtables.
I fall dead into my bed.