I left Potosi Tuesday for Uyuni. Uyuni is a small town on the edge of the desert, who’s main perpose is providing a entrance to the Salar or salt flats. The trip from Potosi was quite nice, in total around 5 hrs long but we passed through some nice terrain.
And here’s where it get interesting. So it seems that every ten years, Bolivia, like most modern countries, does a census.
However Bolivia counts it’s entire population in a single day. And due to the census, every school, business and resteraunt is closed, and no one is allowed out side their house….for the entire day. (gringo protest/rebellion level 4/10)
I happened to be crashing with an Italian in a little hostel off the main plaza when this was going on, and the main consesus among the gringos was “no problem, let’s get hammered tonight, and tommorrow will be a hangover day.” but due to the census bars weren’t allowed to serve alcohol the night before….yeah (gringo protest/rebellion level 7/10)
Fortunately DVDs are cheap down here, so some of us had a good collection of films to keep us busy, however due to the census, the power was also turned off. (gringo protest/rebellion level 9/10)
Wednestday night the census was finally over and life returned to somewhat normal. Thursday morning I caught a tour to the salt flats. The first stop was the train cementary.
They had a large collection of old stream engines. Most of the cool componates had been removed, but it was still cool to check out the old engineering.
After the train cementary, we made our way through herds of wild llamas the salt flats.
Once a large lake, the Salar is the largest salt flat in the world. The salt veries from 3ft-24ft thick.
Some of the salt gets harvested fo table salt.
Some is cut into blocks and used to make houses.
We traveled 40 miles to the center of the flat to the catus island.
The island lives up to its name, and has lots of catuses.
These catuses only grow 4cm a year, which puts several of them almost 1,000 years old.
Overall, a very cool place, the contrast of white and blue made one feel like they were in another world.
Take it easy, Paul Ps: I saw this old truck, though it was cool.