Salar De Uyuni: Day One

Monday we left for the Salar De Uyuni tour. We booked with Miguel, the owner of our hotel in San Pedro, who also runs a tour agency. Eran, being the good jew that he is, bargained him down from 110 dollars to $90 for our 4 day trip and down to $75 for his three day… which we later found out was still $10 more than everyone else was paying. Oh well… the justification was that our Land Cruiser was the 80’s model that has good suspension and coil springs as opposed to all the other tours that were using the 60’s model Land Cruiser with leaf springs… It actually made a ton of difference on the very bumpy roads covered in sand and volcanic rock.

The guide, Javier, and his wife were excellent and they let us listen to our own music for the whole tour… it was Paul’s CDs: Bob Marley, Flogging Molly, Billy Joel, Jim Croche, and my mixed MiniDiscs for the next three days.

Thrown in with our group of me, Paul, and Eran, were two Aussies: Dave and Kelly from Perth who are one a one year honeymoon around the world. Pretty cool kids they are… and I think Dave was really glad to be able to hang with us and let loose. He carried with him some excellent Scotch in a hip flask which he broke out the first night in the refugio where we stayed.

It was really cold up there around 4,300 meters with snow capped volcanos surrounding us, and the scotch was a welcomed surprise. The first day of travels we crossed the Chile/Bolivian border into Chile on a dirt road and headed into the Volcano Park where we saw many volcanos, Laguna Verde , Laguna Colorada, and some hot springs. There were pink flamingos everywhere around the lagunas which was quite a weird thing, considering I’m used to hearing of flamingos at sea level down in florida… not at 15,000 feet! The altitude never really bothered any of us.

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