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One of the most interesting landscapes on Earth: Salar de Uyuni day 2

Our second day started early around 7ish. I heard other groups at our salt hotel getting ready to leave at least an hour before we even got up. They probably take gazillions of pictures. I found it really hard to sleep under the 50 lb fur lined sleeping bag I rented. At least the salt hotel had electricity & hot showers. I got up early, put on my headlamp, freshened up then packed my stuff. The sink water is freeezing!!! Everybody gathered at the breakfast table. We were all still sleepy but looking forward to the second day of even weirder landscapes.


Highlights: Hands down Laguna Colorada is the highlight of the day!
Cast of Characters: Our guide Edwin (I seem to be meeting a lot of tour guides named Edwin), me, Kazuo, Manami, O2, Senna & Han.
Logistics/ Links: Our tour operator is called Hodaka mountain. Our driver Edwin is very good. Not much English though. Oh well! You have to learn some Spanish when you're in South America. See also  Uyuni day 1 & Salar de Uyuni day 3. Salar de Uyuni wikitravel.
When: I went mid-May, 2012. It was cold but if you bring enough layers you won't have a problem with it. I think I was actually too warm at some points of the trip. It was definitely toasty in our jeep. I think the 2nd night is the coldest part of the trip. Since I was all bundled up it was fine. Make sure you have your hand warmers all fired up before you use the sinks. You have been warned.
Cost: 750 Bob of about $107 for the 3 day tour with sleeping bag. Bus from La Paz to Uyuni is about $19. Bus from Uyuni- La Paz is about $14. I think the Laguna Colorada park fee costs 150B or about $20 (keep your tix). Keep some change for restroom breaks.
Trip Report: I honestly thought the accommodations would be super rough from what I've been reading online. I guess after camping at the Inca trail, my standards would be a bit skewed. Second day was very interesting. We saw several beautiful lakes with wild flamingos & drove past snow capped mountains. I am so glad I opted for the 3 day tour.

Jeep safari at Salar de Uyuni. Edwin put on some Aymara & Bolivian tunes. I liked it!!! It reminded me of my jeep safari experience in Egypt (except we had habibi songs playing that time). It was awesome. Even better is sitting at the front passenger seat. It was very comfortable. On the third day I was seated on the second row, not as comfy but a lot more fun cause I got to chat with everyone. Must have been a pain in the butt for Manami & O2 cause they were back in the last row & we had to let them in & out all the time. If you're gonna do this, get dibs on the front seat. 
Manami devouring breakfast. They served a lot of powdered drinks during the trip. Its the staple bread with butter/ jam for breakfast & fries, chicken, veggies for dinner. Manami had hiccups for like 3 days in a row!!! Lol! I did not even think that was possible!

Han & Senna at our salt hotel. They were our translators for the trip. They can speak so many languages!!! =O They were traveling from coast to coast at South America. Pretty cool!

Bolivian lady in the middle of nowhere. Watch out for traffic!

Military checkpoint for...? This idiot abroad thinks these guys look out for border crossing desert foxes or somethin.
 
L-R: Me, Kazuo, O2, Manami. I haven't really traveled with Japanese folks before. These guys are super fun! I learned a few new words. Its funny because both tourists & locals want to get pictures with them. I'm guessing because Japanese folks look very exotic & different (see picture above). When I travel, people sometimes greet me with 'konichiwa'. But sometimes I get mistaken for a local latina too (maybe its my eyeliner). I did not see any other Asian groups besides Japanese traveling around Peru & Bolivia. There was maybe 1 Korean but that was it. Omg! I saw a Filipino guy in  La Paz!!! It was so disconcerting- Spanish everywhere & then I hear someone speaking tagalog. He was on the phone with his boss. I was waiting for him to get off the phone so I could chat, but did not happen so I just left. 

Heading out to one of the many lakes in the area. We had lunch here, it was an excellent picnic spot.
Soo pretty!!!
Tailgate party!!!! After lunch we were asking for the next restroom stop. Edwin says we get there in half an hour- its 5BOB. Btw, all restroom stops outside the hospedajes here have fees. Edwin was kind enough to remind us that out here in the desert, the restroom es gratis. Hehe, thanks. Good to know.

So beautiful!

See! I told you it was a pretty cool picnic spot. The lake with wild flamingos roaming about was just in front of us.
Han was out walking by the lake shore looking for something. When we caught up with Senna she told us that he was looking for a flamingo feather for her hat! And then I noticed she did have some interesting feathers on her fedora hat. I did not think that people did that literally, but it was soo sweet. Han had also sewn her jacket together when the zipper got some damage. They're a lovely couple.

We had a chance to take a short little walk to enjoy the scenery & stretch our legs before another long drive.
Sugoi!!! =D
 
After another short drive, we arrived at another lake with even more flamingos. The flamingos here are at a closer photo range. There's the restrooms in the pic below. There's also a little restaurant out here. I wonder how these folks manage! They are out in the middle of nowhere hours away from everything. It cannot be that easy. Seems like a good hideout for a zombie invasion though.


Lol! These composting toilets are funny. There's a divider in the toilet & you have to get the right stuff into the right compartment otherwise you clean it! Good luck!

Beautiful landscape beyond. This was a 'window' outside the restroom building.

More cool looking mountains. I think we were very close to the border to some other country like Chile in this picture.

3 day jeep safari into the wilderness. Its a wide, vast, barren land but there's actually a lot of activity in the area. There's some small local communities, military base, farms, desert wildlife & tons of tourists doing the jeep safari.

Yeeey!!! Us fabulous girls in the middle of nowhere at Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

We encountered a few cyclists crossing Salar de Uyuni. They are mucho loco. I do not know how long the bike ride takes. The jeep ride from Uyuni to Laguna Colorado park took us 2 whole days of driving. So I cannot even imagine how it was like for these guys. They also camp out in the freeeezing cold wilderness. Crazy!!!

Some interesting rock formations. Reminded of Egypt's White desert again! I love Egypt. Hope the revolution does not make things worse for females.
I did not really research much about Salar de Uyuni. I just know you can take lots of crazy looking pics & there's salt. I did not know there was something crazy like an orange lake!!! As our jeep was approaching, I was just soo surprised!! Wth! An orange lake?! It was very cool. We parked at the top of a hill that overlooked 2 lakes. The wind was biting cold. This shot was worth the wait though.

Some weird algae causes the orange color.


Short walk out to the lake

Group pic!!!
 

Lol! "Lan Cruiser". This was our 'hospedaje' for the 2nd  & last night in the wilderness. They had electricity in the evenings. The electrical outlets filled up quickly with chargers. O2 has everything in his pockets I swear. He just walks over to us as we were getting our chargers from our bags & he just pulls out an ipod charger from his pocket!!!=O   There's no hot showers here unfortunately. Just bring those wet wipes. It took me half an hour to get all my layers off just to wet wipe myself (pain in the butt!). 

Beautiful sunset!!! The sunrise was gorgeous too! And if you can stand the cold, the stars are beautiful!!

We did not get the memo on the alcohol. The group next to us were completely stocked up with booze. They were drinking late into the night & just laughing at everything. This lady was just laughing non-stop at nothing. Fun crowd. Anyway, there's always tea time after our trip. We were one of the first groups to arrive at the hospedaje. Manami, Kazuo & O2 started doing fancy origami paper dragons or something. My mom gave us an origami book when we were kids & I can never get the difficult ones. Senna was filling out her journal. My cats snore really loudly (they're right next to me as I'm writing this). Anyway, travel tip: Bring your booze. I can't believe the trip is almost over at this point. One last day to go.
Hooray for the second day of the Salar de Uyuni experience!!! I enjoy blogging about these adventures because I do not want to forget the wonderful people & experiences I've met along the way. We heart Bolivia!

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