Soooo much to update you on!
During our last few days in San Pedro, we visited a salt lake - weirdest experience just floating on the water! It kind of stang a bit and Ralph cut his foot, but it was amazing! We went to a natural pool afterwards and jumped in to remove all the salt covering us, and then went to Chile´s salt flats, where we watched the sunset with pisco sour, crisps, and peanuts. We then left San Pedro on a 3 day 4x4 trip to Uyuni in Bolivia.
After the most lax border control ever, we began observing the incredible scenary and differences between Bolivia and its richer neighbours. First day we saw red lagoons, and green lagoons and blue lagoons - all absolutely spectacular!! We swam in a hot pool overlooking another lagoon, and in the evening saw loads of Flamingoes! We stayed literally in the middle of the desert in basic but adequate accommodation. The sky was amazing that night with no light pollution at all (until the moon came up!) and we could see the milky way and loads of constellations.
Second day we visited more lagoons, and a weird rock shaped like a tree! We climbed up the weird rock formations to enjoy the view of the desert and snow-capped volcanoes! Some of the volcanoes had smoke coming out of them too. Our second night was spent in a village called Culpina K, more of a lorry driver stay-over-night place but still nice to see the original and real Bolivia.
Our third day was spent looking at some rusted trains (I didn´t really see the point in this stop...) and we saw how polluted the countryside of Bolivia really is- bottles, rubbish bags etc were all over the countryside from here on. We then made our final stop at the AMAZING salt lakes. They were flooded when we visited from the large amount of rain they´ve had, but we both think that made them look even better with the reflections of the clouds and mountains all around - like nothing either of us had ever seen before. We took lots of photos and ralph and I managed to get absolutely covered in salt when no one else did...
So awesome trip! We stayed one night in Uyuni (fairly nice place actually) and took the bus to Potosi. This was our first experience of Bolivian buses, which I didn´t think were too bad! It was bumpy but not annoyingly so, and the scenery was good. The only annoyance was this screaming child the whole 5 hours and the kids that literally stood next to us staring intently at us. Other than that, okay so far!
Potosi is a miners town, and is 4070m above sea level making it the highest city of its size in the world. The centre is quite nice with the buildings showing how rich the town used to be, but the outskirts aren´t so nice! Today we went down a working silver mine. This was quite an experience. Once we´d bought our dynamite, juice, and coca leaves for the miners, we headed to a refinary and heard the gossip about the woman who had a thing with a married man, the wife of this man then cut off her hair and they both went to prison! We got given silver rings (painted on which soon disappeared) and then headed into the mine! It was more like caving but it was a working mine with the miners still doing their thing. It was fine at first, but as we went down the levels the oxygen diminished and the aresnic increased so we found out! We were covered in it! It was very hot and breathing was quite difficult. We both completed our guides ´challenge´of finding our own way through some tunnels (go left, left left) which we managed but it almost killed me! We then went to see the devil of the mine - they believe that if God is in the sky then the devil must be in the ground so have monuments for the devil in the mines. It was more of a rubbish tip with a weird looking statue though. Then, our assistant guide who had left us from the beginning suddendly appeared with a stick of dynamite, and then lit it. We didn´t know whether to run or stay! He then walked off down the tunnel then came back and BANG off it went. He seemed very proud of himself for freaking us out! We then managed to leave, however we´re sure we´ve knocked a day or so from our lives from the dust.
So, thats it so far! We´re heading to Sucre on Monday for a few days then Cochabamba.