Flying to south america...possibly the longest day of my life...in fact it was EVER! left new zealand about 5:30pm and arrived in chile 10:30am the same day! magic! Santiago was not like i imagined, looked like russia i suppose, not that ive ever been there but from what ive seen. lots of stunning buildings. at the time the students from the university were protesting every day about the cost of studying bit rowdy! Went to valparaiso for the day too, apparently the culture capital of chile...bit of a letdown really, graffiti and military everywhere. santiago had more culture. went to an awesome little restaurant though down a back street, all the locals were piling in to this really dark dingy doorway, but outside we saw a sign saying menu of the day for 1000 pesos, which is about a pound. inside were loads of put up tables, dark, probably not the most hygeinic place but so busy, so we presumed it would be good, and we were correct. all the locals where watching a film on the tv in silence. possibly some of the best food i had in south america! now i have no idea what we had eaten as it was all in spanish and no english was spoken...but we started of with soup and then had some sort of stew with rice. maybe it was best to not know what was in it! such nice food! next morning i flew to la paz, nearly missed my flight mind as i forgot south america is a continent not a bloody country and had countries within it, which means that my flight to bolivia would have been international! what a fool, luckily i started talking to a english/spanish translator and she managed to get me to the front of the que, got to my gate just as people were starting to board! close call! la paz...absolutely mental. never seen anything like it! its a mountain plateau filled to the brim with houses. city could not expand anymore unless it was going to drop down into the next valley. walked around the witches markets, seeing dried llama foetus' , which natives believe if you put underneath your new house it will send away all bad spirits, and frogs hanging up.a bit crazy! Bolivia was absolutely heaving with military, in the process of discussinga civil war if im correct. I was laying in my hotel room, absolutely knackered, and i heard gun shots go off in the street. After looking out the window to investigate i just wanted to go to sleep and let it be all passed in the morning! Had a long drive day down to Uyuni (altitude 3665m asl! thats high!!!), where the worlds largest salt flats are. 12 000 sq. km of nothing but salt. Salt ranges from 2m to 20m deep in some places was a sight and a half! we were in 4x4 jeeps travelling across the salt flats to get to Isla Pescado (fish island) it was 100km away from where we started, i had the best nap ever on that drive! island is covered in cacti, absolutely amazing views from the top, right on the horizon you can just about see the mountains. sunset was gorgeous aswell, one direction it was darkness with the moon, opposite side the sun was just going down. At night though the temperatures dropped to -20 degrees celsius. Stupidly cold! next morning we were delayed as all the petrol in the trucks were frozen and so we couldnt get anywhere. After uyuni we were meant to go to potosi to see the mines however due to military action and strikes we had to head straight to argentina so our time here was cut short :( sad times really as it was soooo cheap!! i did manage to buy some funky trousers though which im sure you will all see at some point!