Salt Plains & crazy perspective pictures

Saturday, January 21, 2012
Villa Alota, Potosí, Bolivia
Time to leave at 10.30 am for our 3 day SW Bolivia trip. Somehow we all piled into just one 4x4: the 4 of us, Alberto, a driver and cook = 7 of us. Our gear for 2 nights was on top along with the containers of fuel and a spare tyre.

First stop 20 km out of Uyuni at the small village Colchani on the edge of Salar de Uyuni (3650 asl) and a visit to a small salt packing operation.

Very crude in its set up but no doubt did the job. The raw salt was dried by fire. It takes the 150 kg of raw salt just 30 minutes to dry. Then 4 hours to cool before iodine was added and finally packed into 1 kg bags. No scales, simply fill the bag. Note how the bags are sealed with the naked flame. 50 kg are sold for BS/-13 or about NZ $2.60.

This small town can produce over 20,000 tons per year.

A rum offering to each of the vehicle's 4 wheels to please Pacamama for a safe journey and we were away out onto the salt plains.

By one of the salt hotels we stopped for lunch served on the vehicle tailgate plus time to take our crazy perspective photos. Thanks Alberto for your assistance and next time take a waterproof mat to lie down on. The sun reflecting off the salt was so bright.

I couldn't imagine that the salt plains are some 12,000 sq kilometers in size and it is only a mere 300 km to the other side.

It was rainy season and the water level was higher than usual. Thank goodness it wasn't my vehicle we were in. Wonder how quickly the rust would attack the under side of the vehicles.

Back to Uyuni and the stop by the train cemetery. Big children just don't grow up as the various playground apparatus were well and truly used.

Time to head towards our evening accommodation at Villa Alota.

A banos stop at the small mining town of San Cristobol relocated in 2002 to make way for a Canadian owned open pit mine said to be one of the largest silver deposits in South America, then the remaining 60 km to our end of day stopover at Villa Aloata 4,110 m asl. This was a bleak and empty place.

During my wander around the village I hardy saw anyone. Probably saw more llamas and sheep grazing just outside the town than humans.

The sun was setting and thankful for a mud brick wall at the right height and with my camera bag for my camera to lean on took these many images as the reds and oranges colours slowly changed. I had not expected much of a sunset but was surprised in the end.

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