Thursday, July 30, 2015

Salt Flats Part 3: A Steam, A Pool and More Rocks

I had another restless night. I fell asleep because I tried to lull myself to sleep while reading. I tossed and turned around because I has wearing four layers of top and two comforter blankets. And I was in a winter sleeping bag. Brrrrrrr.

Our third and last morning started as cold, as expected. With chattering teeth, we brushed our teeth, had a quick breakfast then packed our stuff to the ever reliable Toyota Land Cruiser. Seriously, I have a whole new respect for Land Cruisers nowadays. That vehicle has a lot of traction that can withstand the terrain of Uyuni. 

After an hour of driving (wherein I spent my time sleeping), we arrived in the geyser area. We were warned to be careful because we might slip and end up in the geyser. You don't want to end up in the geyser because the nearest medical facility is miles and miles away. 

Geyser in Uyuni

Not a lot to do there. We were still sluggish and it was freezing cold even with all that geyser smoke. I took some photos but none were notable. So back in the warmth of the Land Cruiser. We arrived at my favorite destination that day: the hot springs. (Cost: BOB 3)

The from the hot springs

I skipped bathing for just a day but I felt I've accumulated enough dirt and grime for 3 days. Ewwwww. I tested the water's temperature with my hand - it was just so-so warm. But when I got in, it was nicely hot. My jeepmates and I happily soaked in the hot water. My Filipino blood was relieved that I got to bathe. *sigh*

There was a small (and damp) changing room for males and females. There was a girl who was collecting a fee for the usage (I think, from what I grasp of her Spanish). But we were not sure. Anyway, we already paid the BOB 3 to an older girl before. I'm glad we were ones of the first to arrive. The crowd grew as the morning passed. 

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take shots of the pool because I was so excited to jump in. For the group photos, I didn't get my copies. That is the problem when photos are not taken in your camera. Boooooo.  

Brrrrrr....wet hair in the cold

After that very satisfying dip, we drove to this frozen lake with a mountain background. We were supposed to spend some time here but I think everyone was still high and hungover from the warmth of the hot spring, we didn't feel like hanging out here. A couple of photos and we were back on the road. 

Not interested in the frozen lake. Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns on frozen lakes, probably?

We didn't have electricity yesterday, so some gadgets died. Well Cedric had this solar charger hanging outside. Para-paraan lang yan. 

Frozen stream. COLD. 

Now this spot is nice. Lots of rock formations to get lost into. The jeep dropped us in a spot then headed off to fix our lunch. 

I climbed a safe and sturdy rock to get this view. 

They were more risky climbers. I don't think I missed out anything when I didn't climb a lot of rocks in this trip. Hey, I'll climb others some other time.

I was fine with my feet on the ground. 

Para hindi nakakaumay ang pics, here's the view with me.

Pretty high but not quite. Julia climbed up there.

There's our jeep.

Some rabbit-looking creatures again. Our guide gave them flowers to munch on (he brought the flowers)

It was just midday but it felt like a whole day already. Lunch was simple yet tasty and fulfilling. Some canned tuna, boiled egg, canned corn, cucumber, tomatoes and some rice. The food got cold quickly, as usual, in this weather. 

Then more free time to explore.

Moon freezing power make up! (Sailormoon inspired pose)

I think our guide felt comfy enough to show off his climbing skill. So he climbed up here with us. 

Here's a group photo. Good thing I insisted on having some pics taken in my camera.

The very reliable Toyota Land Cruiser

We drove to another spot like that. 

Now there are..llamas here.

Then it was a long drive back to Uyuni. I think it took two hours, but it felt like four. The lady from Full Adventure greeted me with a smile and asked how the tour was. I returned by sleeping bag and told her I had fun. For BOB 700/ $100 for three days, that's money very well spent. 

The Salt Flats tour was really amazing. At times, I think it is the highlight of my trip to South America, surpassing Machu Picchu. They are different, both are quite touristy, but the Salt Flats really mesmerized me for three days. And if you are coming from Tupiza, the tour takes 4 days - you gain an additional day to wow you. I was extremely glad I took the time to put Uyuni in my itinerary. I probably won't do this again in my lifetime. But I would really recommend you to go to Uyuni, and just muster all your energy to withstand the cold temperature for three days. 

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