We are now in Bolivia and it is unbelivably how different things are here!Immdiately after crossing the border there are women everywhere in national dress and all the people have much stronger Andean features (or look more typically indigenous south american)
From the border we went to a tiny town called Tupiza where we began our tour of the salt flats. It was a four day trip and our guide spoke absolutely no english so it was definately going to be a test for my spanish seeing as the classroom hadnt really prepared me for rock formation vocab! Over the 4 days we saw lakes coloured green and red by various mineral deposits, 3 different species of flamingoes (hundreds of them), smoking volcanoes, snowcapped mountains, deserts, geysers, some incan ruins, weird animals which looked like rabbits with squirrel tails, and got in a spot of bathing in some thermal baths.
We stayed in some interesting accommodation where the order of the day seemed to be to have your pet llama wandering in and out of the house. The climax of the trip was the vast salt flats of Uyuni. They are 12,000 sq km and blindingly white, except from when they are wet when they give a perfect mirror reflection-this made sunrise particularly beautiful!We had lots of fun taking some perspective photos though it was a little trickier than anticipated!
We then (unfortunately) spent 3 days in Uyuni as we (and the other people we have spent the last 2 weeks travelling with) were all a bit poorly. There was literally nothing to do there and i dont think weve ever been pleased to see the back of somewhere. Luckily all recovered in time for our arrival in Potosi, the highest city in the world at 4020metres. Potosi used to be the richest city in south america due to the silver mines, unfortunately all the silver is now gone but the mines are still active. We had a tour down them today and it was an incredible experience but one which neither of us woud ever wish to repeat. It is pitch black, cramped and a little scary-basically everything you would imagine a mine to be. Most of the men in potosi have to work in the mines because there is little other industry in the town, and the boys will start learning from their fathers from ages as young as 11. Luckily they dont start the young boys on another tradition which is drinking 95% alcohol!! The miners worship "Tio", essentially the devil. But for them he brings them luck as they work in his underworld. They have a little statue of a man which they give offerings to on the first and last friday of every month and it was due to these offerings that we got to try some on the alcohol. burns you form the inside out. vile.
Were off to the old capital, Sucre tomorrow which will hopefully have better iternet so we can upload our photos which are a bit brilliant of the salt flats!
Lots of love to all at home, H & R xxx