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One of the most interesting landscapes on Earth: Salar de Uyuni day 3

This time we got up suuuper early. I think we woke up at around 5ish & left like an hour later. The hospedaje staff cooked some pancakes last night so our breakfast was a lot of cold pancakes. My stomach was still asleep so I just skipped breakfast. It was a freezing morning...sub-zero freezing. I wore all my layers so I was fine. I actually thought Uyuni was colder. We shuffled out to the jeep & took off for our extra long day.

Highlights: Hot springs & geysers
Cast of Characters: Our driver/guide Edwin, me, Senna & Han from Netherlands, Kazuo, Manami & O2 from Japan.
Logistics/ Links: Salar de Uyuni day 1, Salar de Uyuni day 2
When: I went mid-May, 2012. Great time to go. I was told it was raining the week before
Cost: I spent about $110 for the 3 day tour including the 3 day sleeping bag rental (50B) & tip for Edwin (also 50B).
Trip Report: The third day was mostly a lot of driving on our way back to Uyuni. We went to see Laguna verde, the geysers, some rock formations & the small town of San Cristobal. During the long drive, we were all talking about where we're going next. Manami & O2 had been traveling for months already on their own. Senna & Han had been on the road for some weeks I think. Kazuo & I were the only ones on a shorter break. I wish I could do long term travel. Responsibilities at home make it tough though. Anyway, I thought this 3 day tour was very cool! Definitely worth your money. I still wish I did not have to pay for visas though. We got back to Uyuni around 5pm. We picked up our bus tickets & luggage from the tour operators office. We said goodbye to Senna & Han who were heading out to Sucre. All the buses seem to leave at around the same time. There's no real bus station. They're are all just parked out on the streets. After dinner, we all walked to the buses then said goodbye to O2 & Manami. I wish I had more time to see some other parts of Bolivia. I think I actually like Bolivia better than Peru. Prices are cheaper. The place feels more 'raw'? I don't even know if that's the right word. Just for comparison- Peru feels like Thailand & Bolivia feels like Myanmar...or something like that.

Never seen a geyser before! Very cool!

Our group approaching Solar de Manana geyser basin. I just googled the name of the place because we could not understand a thing our guide was saying. He tried to explain it, but it was all in Spanish. Sigh. This was our first stop for the day. The strong smell of sulphur hit us as soon as we got off the jeep. Brought back so many memories of when the volcano erupted at my home town (it smelled like sulphur all the time).

We got a closer look at the bubbling sulphur pool. Its this white looking gooey substance that literally forms a bubble on the surface then pops. It was such a bizarre, surreal sight- like something from a movie. It looked very hot, the ground was unstable & uneven.
Sun rising over the desert horizon. Steam geysers at the foreground. I don't think I have seen geysers before so this was very interesting.

Geyser landscape as we were driving out.

Hot spriiings!!!! There's a little shed with lockers inside. Seemed like it was locked though. Most people just got ready outside (in the cold). Edwin gave us about half an hour to enjoy the springs. The water looke pretty clean. I remember when we were in Egypt we went to those desert oases. The Egypt desert springs looked kind of sketchy like you can catch something from swimming in it. This one looked nice though.
This is the face of pure bliss. I think O2 is the type of guy who just does everything. He was the only one in our group who jumped in the hot springs. He said it was more luke warm than hot. I was actually wearing my swim suit underneath all my layers. But I felt too lazy to go in because it was such a pain in the butt to dress. And did I mention it was cold? I need to quit being a wuss, I know.

Kazuo at the hot springs.

It was soo cool how there's all this steam coming out from the water.

Senna & Han enjoying the hot springs

Melts and then freezes everyday

Salar de Uyuni hot springs, Bolivia.

That's actually Manami & Kazuo on the lower left of the image. This was at Laguna Verde. The lake did not look too green. I guess the colors change depending on what the algae feel like doing.

We stopped at a site with some interesting rock formations. Edwin told us to use our imaginations.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Manami at Salar de Uyuni

The third day has the longest driving time. I got to chat with Senna, Kazuo, Manami & O2 at the back while Han was practicing his Spanish with Edwin at the front. O2 started talking about all the companies from Japan. When I got home I realized holy crap! Almost everything seems to have from Japan (& US!). All the cars parked out front, my cameras, cooking ingredients, the cute little Maru cat videos. =O  Must be nice to have a culture of innovation.

We stopped by a small town called San Cristobal. I believe its a mining town. Not too many people around.

Ladies selling fruits & vegetables. They were right outside the public market building. There's just so few people in town I wonder if they're managing ok.

There was a stray little llama wandering the streets. Here's Kazuo terrorizing the poor llama, lol!

The looong road back to Uyuni. We played a little Japanese thumb game thingy. We listened to some more Aymara & Bolivian music. There were some alpaca & llama herds, those alpacas are soo cuute! We talked about travel plans, jobs & our lives back home. Good times.

When we got back to Uyuni, we waited at the tour operators office to retrieve our luggage. I joined Manami, O2 & Kazuo for dinner at one of the local pizza restaurants. There's a lot of pizza restaurants in Peru & Bolivia. After dinner on our way to the bus station, somebody from the tour operators office came running after us. Kazuo almost forgot his laptop! Good thing the guy went after us to return it. The bus back to La Paz was not as cold the one getting into Uyuni. Kazuo & I were apparently on a high school party bus. The kids all gathered at the back with bottles of booze concealed in their jackets. Lol! Good times indeed.

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