11.04. - 12.04.2002: Uyuni

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Thursday, 11.04.2002: San Christobal - Uyuni

Banoffi pie for breakfast, yummy! Then we discovered that our plastic crate full of bread had been stolen. If they'd have asked for food we would have given it to them, as we already had done the night before. But it was the principle of the thing.

It was quite funny seeing Prue in full fighting mode threatening the hostel staff that if they didn't return the crate and bread PRONTO she would take their video as compensation - at the time Darrell was standing next to her with the said video under his arm!!!!

It did the trick. The staff went off and did house to house calls, collecting loaves at every stop and finally the crate as well!

So finally we left and drove onto the salt flats of Uyuni - a vast expanse of white. We stopped at the salt hotel on the Salar de Uyuni, which is not in use anymore and had lunch next to an island with many giant cactus trees.

Salt hotel and lunch on the Salar de Uyuni

Unfortunately we got badly sunburnt from the reflection off the salt as we went out and took loads of photos - Helens elbows were swollen!!

The salt flats is where the crews of all the trucks go wild - racing along the flats, doing several circles, weaving in and out and between each other, with the truck contents doing moonies, the girls flashing their tits, the Bukima and SAS trucks started throwing food which the 2 Kumuka trucks then had to clear up - at least Kumuka are environmentally conscious! We did a group photo with all for trucks.

Trucks going wild

On the way out we saw men cutting off the top layer and shovelling the salt into volcano shaped piles and also visited a family packing up the salt into plastic bags (3.000 small bags per day!).

Prue had booked all the rooms in a really lovely little hotel on the main street of Uyuni. Uyuni is quite a nice little town with lots of restaurants and great markets. There was not a lot to see besides the salt flats. But it was great watching the Bolivians in their traditional clothes and to relax for a couple of days. Most of the group were partying until 3am and had to ring the bell to get into the hotel (the owner was not amused).

Friday, 12.04.2002: Uyuni

A free day for everyone. We got up fairly early and had a wander around the town, which ended in a little restaurant for a second breakfast. From the table we could see workmen re-tiling the plaza. Their faces were covered with a woollen mask - we assumed they were prisoners and didn´t want to show their faces in public. They worked for 5 minutes and then had a break for 10 minutes. It went on like this for hours and in the end it didn´t really look like they´ve done anything. Well, that´s South America!

Afterwards we went to the local food and flower market. We bought Prue some flowers and wrote a note saying "It´s a beautiful day. Lots of Love G." and put them in her hotel door! We met her and Darrell in the markets whilst we were still plotting and she knew we were up to something.

In the afternoon we went out to the train graveyard - not really very exciting seeing rusty old carriages and engines!

After dinner another big party happened at the Cactus bar. Prue threw herself on top of Greg - the Bukima driver - and broke the chair! Graham asked her a couple of days later for money claiming that he had paid for the chair. Prue believed him and gave him the money!