Uyuni and the Salar

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.

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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.

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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.

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After the train cementary, we made our way through herds of wild llamas the salt flats.

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Once a large lake, the Salar is the largest salt flat in the world. The salt veries from 3ft-24ft thick.

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Some of the salt gets harvested fo table salt.

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Some is cut into blocks and used to make houses.

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We traveled 40 miles to the center of the flat to the catus island.

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The island lives up to its name, and has lots of catuses.

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These catuses only grow 4cm a year, which puts several of them almost 1,000 years old.

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Overall, a very cool place, the contrast of white and blue made one feel like they were in another world.

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Take it easy, Paul Ps: I saw this old truck, though it was cool.

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