November 16, 2009

Day 223 : Salar de Uyuni

This morning I hopped in the 4 by 4 to begin my adventure across the Salar de Uyuni. The town of Uyuni is a funny little place, a lot like a dusty, abandoned ghost town from a western film. I expected to see a cowboy fly by on his horse, but instead there were just lots of Bolivian Bowler Babes walking to and fro...
Where the desert meets the Salar de Uyuni you can find the Train Cemetary, a definite tourist attraction in amidst No-Man's Land.
Unfortunately the landscape is more or less covered with plastic bags and garbage, at least in areas adjacent to the town of Uyuni. It's really a shame that there's not an apparent trash disposal system in place. This doll didn't survive the harsh conditions!
The salt flats were extremely hot, despite the snowy appearance. Shade was scarce but sleeping surfaces were not!
My 4 by 4 driver, Marin!
After lunch I hiked to the top of Isla de los Pescadores to get a more all-encompassing view of the Salar de Uyuni.
The towns and people that flank The Salar survive mainly on the natural salt deposits that are at their disposal. There are several piles like the one below that have been harvested by Salt Workers.
A salt separating mechanism. These machines look entirely antique, and more or less like decorations, but the locals actually use them, and in fact, they depend on them!

A dead, dry cactus atop the Isla de los Pescadores.
At the top of the island I discovered several rock piles, a traditional construction along the routes of epic journies, usually found at high points along the way.

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