Thursday, July 30, 2015

Salt Flats Part 2: Pink Flamingoes, Arbol de Piedra, Laguna Colorado (I Froze in Bolivia)

I woke up early.
I was able to sleep but I was not able to rest.
After a quick breakfast and toilet time, we hauled our now salty bags back to the vehicle. Here comes Day 2 (here's Day 1). 

We were miles and miles away from the Uyuni (Funny how I use miles and miles as an expression but I have a better idea of what a kilometer is vs. a mile. It is not nice to say kilometers and kilometers away).

Good morning Uyuni view.

We drove so early in the morning and stopped in these tracks.

Our driver told us to get down from the vehicle because he had to get over this train track and we were heavy (He said that in Spanish)

It was a beautiful sunny and cold morning in Uyuni.

Here's my lying-down-in-the-tracks pose. I should've ditched the bag.

We drove for almost an hour to our next time. The landscape in Uyuni reminded me of the Savannah in Indonesia, but it is emptier. And definitely colder. 

The day consisted of driving and more driving until the next stop where you either take photos, eat or pee in the vastness Uyuni. 

No fleece jacket yet. Kept my hands in my pockets. 

The gang started to take photos

See how small the jeep is compared to everything else?

I decided to recycle the outer socks. I had two layers of Heattech socks under that.
I was also wearing one layer of camisole, two layers of long-sleeved Heattech top and a windbreaker on top. I was wearing 70% of my wardrobe. I keep a clean set for what I use for sleeping. (I can't describe the beautiful vastness any further so let me just tell you about the challenges I encounter in my wardrobe).

I ditched the jeggings I ripped the previous day and used the black running pants. 

See the antelope there? Look closely. 

We arrived at this beautiful “snow-and-salt” picturesque lake and

I thought it was beautiful. How the heck did the flamingos survive winter weather? Where did they come from? How do they leave? Where do they get their food? If the lake freezes at night, where do they go? These are questions that I wasn't able to ask my guide. If you know the answer, do tell. 

With a scarf now

Pink flamingoes in the middle of nowhere. Nowhere=Uyuni.

Then I thought I really needed to pee.
Our guide said we could all just pick a spot and do our business. 
I suggest you do your business quickly because your bum will be bared in the cold.

Ah yes, one with nature.

One with nature yeah!

There were a lot of magnificent views. I was running out of creative poses.

Freezing lake

We drove to another spot where there was another lake with more pink flamingos. I can't remember the name of all the places, sarreh. But they were all beautiful and totally worth the journey. 

Well there's more of you there.

As the day went by, the air got colder and colder.

Now with the hat, thick gloves and scarf. This is my "I'm freezing here" pose

No...flamingos? I don't quite understand what that sign is. 

A lot of them drinking at the same time

Shadow shot with the freezing ground

I mustered all my energy for a decent shot. 


There's a hotel in this spot which boasts that it has Wifi. You can also charge your gadgets here, and go to the toilet. 

We had a spot where we had a picnic lunch. The chicken is huge. The pasta is okay, and I was extremely grad that there were fruits. A day of pasta and bread is quite heavy really. 

After lunch, more driving to more middle-of-nowhere spots. 
What does the fox say?

We stopped at another spot with lake and some dessert but we didn't stay long here. The wind was blowing harder at that time. That blowing was was cold. Nobody wanted to stay outside even to take a couple of pics. We all wanted the warmth of the jeep. 

I write a lot about the cold weather because I remember it as vividly as I remember the sights. Do not underestimate the impact of the weather during your adventure. 

We drove and stopped at these rock formations looks like the rocks of Grand Canyon. Since I haven't been there, I compare these to the rocks of Biri Island

See the creature that looks like a rabbit?

Trying out my cactus pose I conceptualized the previous day.

Julia and Cedric were brave to climb up there. I was happy staying down. Not risking ripping my pants this time. 

Drove again, then stopped again in these rock formations in the middle of nowhere. There's a lot of middle in this nowhere. 

I can't conceptualize a pose to give this view any justice

Negative 20-25 degrees....

More climbing for Julia. You go girl!

I wasn’t brave to climb up there. Especially that my jeggings ripped the day before. Not gonna rip this one now or I’ll be out of clothes. 

By 4pm, we were rolling in our hostel for the night. The hostel is located in the premises of Laguna Colorado.  The room had 7 beds so there was one extra bed. Before we slept, I took and owned the blanket of that bed. Nobody else needed it. They all knew how to deal with the cold and I was the Asian who had no winter in her country. I needed that extra blanket. 

After marking our territories and dumping our stuff, we explored Laguna Colorado. Make sure you have enough Bolivianos with you to pay for the entrance of Laguna Colorado: BOB 150.


I told them it was my first time to step on ice - Skating rings not included. They said we should celebrate taking a photo.
Group photo!

At this point, I was tired from the cold. Not the walking and the trekking, but the cold. I still pushed through until we had enough photos. 

Setting-up the equipment

Pretty awesom Laguna here. Red freezing lake. 

My looking-far-away-into-the-distance lagoon shot

Standard shoe shot

More trekking

I dragged myself during the trek back. I didn't talk much because talking costs me some energy. I'd like to preserve all my energy. I felt light-headed at times when the breeze was really strong. 

I'm glad we finished that early because some of the groups arrived there just as we came back. We still had sun when we got back to base. 

Everyone asked me how I was, nice of them. Altitude sickness? Nah, the weather tired me out. I'm glad there was tea and biscuits ready when we arrived. I could use some hot stuff. 

The hostel had one bathroom with three toilets. Because it is just one, that means both male and female use it. There was no hot water, and I wasn't crazy enough to bathe in cold water. So even if my feet were dusty, I cleaned them using wet wipes (my Filipino self is scolding me at this point. No bath before bed?!?!?!). I.just.can't. Not tonight. 

The toilet stalls did not shut properly, had cracks in the doors and the walls did not go all the way up to the ceiling. That means anyone in the bathroom can hear or smell whatever business you are doing. I put up with it for the night. It was the most extreme bathroom scenario I dealt with. I sometimes think that you'll have more privacy if you do it with "nature". But nature is too cold outside. 

We didn't do much for the rest of the night. We just conversed in English-Spanish-French for a couple of hours but we went to bed by 8 or 9pm. In a land with no Wifi, you'll just rely on conversation until you fall asleep. We had a call time of 5AM the next day. Time to rest. It was a long and beautiful Day 2 in Uyuni. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...