Sunday 29 June 2014

Day 47: Say Cheese, Mr Flamingo

Flamingos eating brine shrimp (not cheese!)
A day of lakes.  Our Bolivian driver jolted us from one to another of them along miles of off-road tracks in a jeep which we shared with two other couples.  I will mention one of them as they crop up again later in our travels.  Tim (working in IT) and Jenny (a civil servant) were Londoners, 30-somethings, work refugees for a few months, and lovers of climbing and camping.  Sound familiar?

Together we all piled out of the jeep for half an hour beside each lake to shiver and gasp and take yet another flamingo photo.  If only these birds did not need to spend ninety percent of the time filtering the water for shrimp and would look at the camera from time to time!  Say cheese won't you, Mr Flamingo?  No?  Ah well.  The lakes were high and cold and steamed into the still air, with golden grasslands surrounding them.  Even without the birds, their photogenic properties would scarcely have been limited.

As the end of the day approached, the central theme of the landscape changed from water to salt.  We were approaching the Uyuni salt flats where we would spend the final day of the jeep tour.  Appropriately enough we stayed the night in the Salt Hotel where we crunched across a carpet of sodium chloride (salt, for the chemically-challenged).  But alas, you can't eat salt alone.  Nor can you eat the food at the Salt Hotel (a watery egg, in the absence of other vegetarian options) without danger.

We ate the food.  Guy spent the next forty-eight hours paying the price violently.

Flamingo taking off
Morning flamingos clustered around a geothermally heated part of Laguna Colorado
This rock looks like a tree apparently. I won't mention what the one behind it looks like! ;-)
Testing the ice with Jenny and Tim
Bell tower in local village
The train line from Calama to Uyuni as it enters the salt flats (just around the obvious corner!).
You've been to the Ice Hotel? Now try the Salt Hotel (just don't eat the food).

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