On the second day, we woke up at 8am. We were informed that we were now done with the salt flats and would be off to the Siloli desert. The desert is part of the Atacama desert, and is characterized by rock formations produced by strong winds in the region. There was a bit of morning drama as one of the people in our group wanted to go see some llamas that were in a church compound, and we were running really late. Everyone else said that they would rather leave, but the offending party insisted on going. By the time she came back to the car, tensions were high. I read my kindle. I don't like drama, and didn't want to get involved in any. Thankfully by later in the day things had cooled off, but there were definitely three camps in the car 1. The "we were meant to leave here at 8:15 and it's 8:17am. I am going to fume and sulk" camp, that had one occupant. 2. The next camp was the "Wow. Who cares about time. I am going to do a bit of yoga and meditation at every place we stop....and only start looking for the loo at the exact time we are meant to be on our way" camp. This camp had one occupant. The rest of us were in the "I'm not too bothered as long as we get to see everything" camp. It was not a trip without drama.
The day was amazing! Among other great sites, we got to see amazing volcanic rock formations in the Siloli desert. The most beautiful rock formations were the "Arbol del Piedra" and the "Desierto Dali." I had the most amazing pictures, but unfortunately my phone crashed within hours of leaving the desert, and I was only able to salvage a few pictures...which I am sharing here. I hope to upload the rest in future when I hopefully get my phone fixed in Nairobi. We passed amazing volcanic mountains on our way with the most stunning being Volcan Uturuncu that stands at over 6000 above sea level and also Volcan Licancabur that stands at around 5900M above sea level. We passed many beautiful lagoons in the desert with some having quite a few pink flamingos. It was great to see wildlife given that none can survive in the salt flats where we were the previous day. We also passed some really cute animals that look like gazelles.
In the evening we got to our accommodation for the night. This place was by Laguna Colorado and was REAL...like really REAL...no real electricity, no showers, no meat for dinner. It really dawned on me that we were in the middle of the desert. At this place all 6 of us were kept in one dorm room. I was actually happy to have so many people in the room because I thought it meant we would be warm....wrong......That was the coldest I have ever been since leaving Boston in 2009. We ate dinner - spaghetti and onion stew....The next day we were to begin our journey at 4am...breakfast at 3:30am. We went to sleep by 9pm to be up in time. I saw everyone get into their beds with sleeping bags. I really wished I had a sleeping bag. I slept in all my warm clothes...which wasn't much. There was a guy who had a silk sleeping bag. Definitely buying one next time. It's really light weight, and silk is an amazing material - warm when you are cold, and cold when you are hot.
Before I slept, I took my phone to the kitchen to beg for them to charge it for a few hours so that I could use it the next day for pictures. Big mistake. The power was only going to be on in the kitchen for 2 hours and the connection seemed dodgy...wires hanging out, loose sockets etc....and they said the power was solar. The next morning when I picked my phone, it had not charged at all....and the next day is when it lost its damn mind. I think the connection in the Siloli desert did my phone in - more on that drama in my next post.
All in all, the salt flats and the Siloli desert was the most beautiful place I have ever been to in my life. The colors, the vastness of the desert, the tranquility. Bolivia really does have the most stunning landscape. At so many points, one felt like they were on the moon. I have never seen anything like it.