The Southwest Circuit to Salar de Uyuni: Day Three
Day Three stated off cold. It had continued snowing during the night and the first section of the drive, that would ordinarily have been desert, was completely white.
The first place we stopped was at a famous rock that is on all the postcards around here. Our driver said it was the first time he had seen it in the snow. It’s called the Arbol de Piedra (Tree of Rock).
Soon after continuing on our way, the sky cleared up and we drove out of the snow. The temperature started to warm up and before long we were in our t-shirts. We came to the main road from Uyuni to Chile, and, although still dirt, it was a great improvement. This section of the trip turned kind of boring, so I took a short nap.
We stopped for lunch in a area full of AWESOME rocks. Our driver stopped next to the Condor sin Cabeza rock (Condor without a head) and I ran off to do some quick bouldering on a couple of the thousands of possible rocks.
After lunch was more of the same; llamas, llamas, and more llamas. At this point, I think everyone in the car fell asleep at some point. You just don’t expect how tired you are going to be after three long days bumping around in the wilderness. When we woke, we looked to the left to see nothing, just flatness, as if there were an ocean in the distance. “Salar de Uyuni” said our driver, pointing in that direction. Soon the town of Uyuni came into view and, since it was only around 3 in the afternoon, we had the evening to rest up before driving out early the next morning to see the salt flats at sunrise.
The town of Uyuni was an absolute DUMP. All the roads were dirt with horrible huge holes full of water. We walked to the center of town to check on bus tickets for the next day and to use the internet. There were only a few expensive internet cafes that wouldn’t even load Gmail, and when we asked the bus offices if they had tickets for the next day to Potosí, their response was “No hay bus a Potosí mañana, mañana es Carnaval aquí!” No one works during Carnaval, which makes travel a big problem. So we bought a ticket for the day after, determined to tough it out in what was probably our least favorite town so far this trip.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s conclusion to our four day saga!