Alarm set 7.30am and bounced out of bed after one beep. I was pumped for this tour. Threw down a bowl of my home made muesli and Bruno and i set out to find our pick up destination. My enthusiasm was quickly shot down when we were both told our names were not on the list !?
WTF!!? Were we at the wrong spot? Were we late? What's going on we done exactly what the bloke from the hostel told us!? I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to find an agency that could help us.. Back to the hostel and asked quite firmly for the lad at reception to makes some calls but was to no avail. Bus leaves at 8am and it was now 8.25am.. now I'm freaking a little. I'd payed $70,000 (pesos) the day before (approx $140 aus) and we looked by easy assumption that we were .... f***ED !!
The sound of crunching gravel as a mini van pulled out the front of the hostel was my saving grace and also stopped me from murdering the guy working on reception. I apologized and thanked him anyway for his attempt at helping us. Piled in and let out a sigh of relief.
The crew as it stood for our adventure across the border into Bolivia and for the 3 days to follow were Bruno from brazil, Anna , Eva and Meg from England , Bob from Slovenia and myself. Quite the wild card team but came together well.
Got my stamp paid my 150 bolivianos and I was in!
Transferred from our mini bus into a squashy jeep that just made the adventure all the more raw and real!
First two stops were some spectacular salt lakes surrounded by breath taking mountains which were reflected in the beautiful crystal clear water. I wish my vocabulary and writing skills were a lot superior at the moment so I could do these breath taking spectacles the justice they deserved. Truly amazing!
The next stop was like nothing I had ever witnessed: thermal hot spring surrounded by salt lakes and more picturesque mountains. Water was beautiful! Like a hot bath. After a 20minute soak Dried off and hit the road again. Only half way through and felt so productive. Driving the winding dirt tracks was a highlight itself 360° of breath taking landscape and often not another vehicle in sight. I had front seat for most the journey so was blasting out some good travel tunes that the guys enjoyed as we bumped and winded our way to the last two stops before lunch. Driving off any form of track for some time we encountered possibly one of the most bizarre sightings of my life! Volcanic geysers letting out gases from beneath the earth at temperature around 95°C. Really had to be seen to be believed. I was enjoying every second of this day. Everywhere you turn was something amazing to look at. Nothing could have prepared me for any of this!
Arrived at our lodge (in the middle of the desert) where we unloaded or packs, had some lunch, a brief siesta and then crammed back into the jeep for our last spot. Hard to say but I reckon that we left the best for last. A salt lagoon that had been stained an eery pink color from algae that hundreds of flamingos were feasting on. Further more the ice plateau island a little more in the distance made the whole image that much more surreal and bizarre. Was this actually real? Or was it just a beautiful piece of artwork. All the elements combined magically into a setting that really made no sense and is really hard to describe. Walking back up the hill from the lagoon and down to another I did a complete revolution and almost found it overwhelming where I was standing! Maybe it was the altitude getting to me but I really took a moment to reminisce how much I had worked and looked forward to this trip and was just so happy to be there living it for real. Really stoked that guys I was with were enjoying and appreciating the surroundings just as much as I was.
Back to our base camp for down time and coffee and to attack this blog while it was fresh in my mind.
Expecting an early night... Is it possible that these next two days could measure up or even top today!? Guess ill have to wait and see .....