Roughing it in Bolivia
Colourful mountains from Chile. Colourful lagunas. Pink and white Flamingos. A bit of altitude sickness. All part of the 3-day adventure from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile to Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.
Day one was all about the mountains and lagunas and reaching over 4400m above sea level. Despite being a bit out of breath I felt fine and loved the unique scenery.
I had heard that the tours from San Pedro de Atacama were not very good, so opted to go with the most expensive one (Cordillera traveller) to try to ensure a sober driver. Turns out I chose pretty well. Our driver was pretty good and our group of 6 people (3 Aussies, 1 German, 1 Swiss/Brazilian and me the token Kiwi) were awesome. We had lots of laughs, card games and fun. The drivers only speak Spanish so we relied on a couple of the Spanish speakers in our group to translate. The food and accommodation, although basic, was a lot better than I expected. I had wished there were more seat-belts than just the front seat, it would have helped to hold us down on the large bumps in the road.
Day two didn’t start off brilliantly.
I woke up throughout the night (as usual these last few weeks) needing water for my dry throat. Then early in the morning I woke with a mighty headache. It felt like my head was going to explode. I also felt like I was going to throw up. Less be said, hunting for some painkillers and stomach ease pills in the dark in my bag wasn’t a pleasant experience. That’s what altitude can do to you. I’d gotten used to the blowing blood out of my nose, but thought I’d acclimatised since I was fine the first day.
The group kindly put my in the front seat of the 4WD for the day and despite the jiggling everywhere (very rough roads) I wasn’t sick. Headaches needed a few more painkillers throughout the day, but I came right and was still able to enjoy the flamingos, mountains and lagunas.
Given how many photos I have, I’ll post about the 3rd day in the next blog – when we finally reached Salar de Uyuni. Stay tuned!