Not even the numerous pictures of the salt flats could prepare me for the surreal spectacle of the white salt as far as the horizon. The tour from San Pedro started two days before we arrived at the salf flats, setting off from San Pedro just as it was getting light and then accending to the Bolivian altiplano for breakfast. Fortunately I managed to find a great group and instructor who spoke English for the tour. The first day was spent visiting lakes of various colours with many flamingoes and also to the hot spings and geysers. At the geysers we reached an altitude of around 4,800m, which combined with the sulpurous smell make you very light headed and falling in the geysers a real possibility. For the first night, we stayed in a freezing hostel by the red lake with beds as lumpy as our cheeks after chewing coca leaves for most of the night.
Waking up feeling groggy the next morning (from the poor sleep rather than the coca), we drifted through the desert past numerous rock formations, which were amazing if repetitive after a while. The most disturbing part of the day was when we visited a ghost town with only five families inhabiting it. It´s abandoned buildings and train station were haunting enough before we discovered the graveyard behind the town. It all seemed like the perfect horror movie cliche and we were relieved to be safely back in the car. The day ended on a spectacular note; driving onto the salt flat for sunset. Because there was a small layer of water on the salt, it acted as a perfect mirror eliminating the horizon from our view. It was all very surreal and seemed to belong more to a Dali painting than real life.
Finally today we explored the entire salt flats and took many perspective defying pictures. In the middle of the salt flat was a small island with enormous cacti and coral-like rocks. We also visited a hotel made entirely out of salt and the processing plants at the edge of the salf flats.
Arriving in Uyuni I was reminded again of Bolivian inefficiency. I hoped to get a train to Tupiza tonight but the ticket office at the station is closed on Sunday making it impossible to get a ticket for tonight. My original plan of making it to La Paz for the weekend has now been abandoned and my journey is now unfortunatly dependant upon Bolivian schedules.