Salt Flats Uyuni Jirira Posada Dona Lupe Bolivia
My attempts to shove a plastic bag in the gap is somewhat dismal in stopping the freezing wind.
I feel a right sciatic pain.
My socked feet are completely numb, yet in pain.
I am twisted into two seats with my son on my lap, swathed in two blankets, as thick as horse-rugs.
They are so warm, yet I so wish for another, as they do not vet the cold nearly enough.
And the wildlife present themselves sporadically along the road – it is glorious to see.
armed with pamphlets to book Salt Flat tours.
I am over being ripped off by tours. Yet we want to leave today.
A lady keeps approaching me – she only speaks Spanish but I am drawn to her.
She grabs my suitcase and we head off to her office – 3 blocks away.
She informs me a man who speaks English will be there soon.
It is in a restaurant so we order desayuno – or breakfast.
and we decide on a two day tour.
He throws in today’s breakfast for free.
I have less than an hour to repack my bags, sleeping bags and then discover we need
old shoes and clothes – oops – we just gave them all away in Arequipa – oh well.
sports their door sticker.
We introduce ourselves to the other 4 clients.
She thinks my son is gorgeous!
We talk and I discover she has paid about a 1/3 of my price.
I am also told we get special treatment.
Ninos (my son) gets the front seat at all times.
Guess this comes with the price.
My son starts a big whinge about how we paid premium for that seat.
The driver tells him he is not to sit there again.
I feel bad.
I talk to my son about sharing.
After a dusty ½ hour we head onto the salt flats.
– we are collecting key-rings and turning them into decorations
for our International Christmas Tree.
But fortunately we are out of time.
However, I do buy salt dice; a salt pot; and a salt trinket box –
– all of which my son has licked to confirm they are salt.
Bicycles lay near where the men sit and rest.
You can only see their eyes – they are completely wrapped up.
The white salt acts as a mirror to the sun, and burns the skin.
Many are surrounded by water.
Licking his hands he is amazed that what looks like snow, is salt.
It is as cold as snow outside.
Only a few degrees Celsius.
He has attempted to jump a salt pile and fallen off.
Shoes off, he is hopping around complaining about the freezing temperatures.
Things are filthy.
We are informed we have a strict 10 minutes for photographs at the Salt Museum Hotel.
I have so wanted to see this.
And my son has lined up a heap of poses he wants to try for infinity photographs.
We meet some Australians who help us with our photos.
We laugh as my son decides he wants to “kiss Mamma’s butt”.
We go into the museum and we find we have to purchase an item at a massively inflated price to enter.
We decide the price of the Banos at $1 AU is our entry ticket.
He is licking things.
I inform him it is meant to be pretend licks.
Our 10 minutes turned into 40 minutes.
We laugh as we notice the speedo isn’t working.
The fuel gauge says empty.
The crack in the windscreen is held together with a boliviano coin.
We have been heading for the volcano.
It seems no nearer.
After what seems an eternity we discover it is nearly 3 pm.
We have had no lunch.
The conversation has died.
I am thankful for my snack pack – a good Mum always has snacks!
We meet the Australians and their team again.
We all sit down for lunch. But the other 4WD has a tablecloth and superior food.
I am internalising the fact I have been overcharged.
It is a dump.
And it is dirty.
In fact the old lady sits in a dumpy room and charges us to use the toilet.
I then see the terrible room all the rest are sharing.
It has rusty beds, and a mismatch of old linen.
I am not happy.
For the exorbitant amount we paid compared to others,
I do not want to stay here.
This is meant to be our treat.
To stay in a Salt Hotel.
He tells me we have hotel rooms.
When he shows them to me, they are OK, but I am internalizing my disappointment –
– that this is no Salt Hotel.
painted to completely cover the wall.
We converse and take some great snaps.
By now I am in tears.
It is so much better.
We are also told we will eat here.
The rest of the property is rustic.
As we stand in the vast expanse of white, I feel this is a place of complete quiet –
– a place to hear God, and to feel him.
I feel we are in exactly the right place in our journey of life.
He drives us 500 metres and drops us back to the hostel.
I am completely confused what happened in the last hour.
Nice – the soup is fabulous.
The Salt Plains are amazing.
This little town of Jirira, has been forgotten in time – it is amazing!