Bolivian Treasures

May 15, 2012

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Our time in Bolivia was coming to an end but we had one more adventure ahead of us, the Salt Flats. We had been hearing about the salt flats since Peru and made our way to Southern Bolivia just to see them. What was once an ancient ocean is now the largest and highest elevation slat flat. Andre, Mike and I were pumped and had been buying props for a photo shoot for some time. Our props included smurfs, kinder egg surprise, king kong and some farm animals. This would be our last trip together as Andre was off to Argentina and we were going to Chile, so we wanted to go out with a bang!

We arranged a three day tour with Daniel and Daniel from Isreal. The 5 of us would be sharing a Toyota Land Cruiser (good choice) and driving out into no mans land. The slat flats were unbelievable! They are a really wicked optical illusion that looks like a white dessert. As you get closer you cannot tell where the sky ends and the salt begins. The guys got really silly in our photo shoot and insisted on getting naked. Lucky me got to take all the snaps. lol

Our driver was not the friendliest Bolivian we had met. We tried to play nice but he just didn’t seem to like tourists. He also liked to punish us with his horrible punta rock music at top volume for most of the trip. We tried to play our own music but he just turned his up louder. lol The final straw was drawn when he called Daniel a donkey (in spanish) for opening the ketchup too wide. After that we made a lot of random donkey calls in the back of the truck. lol

On day 2, we drove further out and up into the mountains and the scenery got even more beautiful! We came upon the first of five lakes and everyone’s jaws dropped. It was an amazing aqua marine blue with snowy mountains behind it. Unbelievable! Every lake we saw was a different color due to the minerals there. We hit 5000 m above sea level at one point, it began to blizzard and you could not see the road. Daniel #2 had never even seen snow before! Must be nice.

The best part of the trip was saved for last. The final lake “Colorado” was deep red! To our even bigger surprise, it was filled with pink flamingos! Thousands of birds were churping and cooing while they fed and drank from the water. It was incredible. We watched them as long as we could stand the cold.

Before we transfered to the truck going to Chile we had one more treat. We stopped for breakfast at a natural hot spring overlooking a lake. It was worth the freezing cold temperature to change into our bathing suits and get into the hot water. After three days of being cold most of the time, it was a dream come true to sit in the water and watch the sun rise. We said some teary goodbyes to our Swedish friend, Andre and our two new buds Daniel squared and hopped into another Cruiser bound for the border. The border crossing was comical to say the least. One tiny shack in the middle of the mountains with only a dirt trail for a road. We got our stamp and entered our next country, CHILE.

Mining in Potosi

May 2, 2012

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Potosi is the highest city in the world! We went to check it out and the boys went mining! The silver mine here has a legendary but tragic past. It has literally paved the roads with silver but claimed 8 million lives in the process. Mike and Sven got to blow up dynamite and play in the dirt but I’m sure glad it was on a tour and not for real. The average lifespan for a miner is only 10 years! I got wicked food poisoning and didn’t leave the hostel for two days. Welcome to Bolivia! lol

One high city….

April 27, 2012

Our next stop in Bolivia was in La Paz, the highest capital city in the world. It is a massive city built in the valley of a mountain chain. The houses literally crawl up the mountain side, an impressive site.

We checked into Wild Rover, the other infamous party hostel, for a couple nights. There isn’t a whole lot to do in La Paz other then regular city stuff and partyn. The are famous for the “death road” biking, which is a fast paced adreniline pumping mountian bike ride down the road that once used to clam the most lives per year. Fortunately the big trucks use an alternate route now and the road is much safer despite still being on the edge of a cliff. Andre hit up the action packed day but we opted not to go. The last time Mike and I biked we crashed into each other! lol Besides we have driven on enough “death roads” for a life time!

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The “witches market” was a cool place to walk around and shop. They have the typical Bolivian hand crafts, including beautiful alpaca sweaters but they also had some more interesting goods. Llama fetuses and other animal parts where the big attraction. Used for ancient remedies and tonics along with many other local plants and herbs. They are a creepy site, some of them have fur! You could even buy cacti that make your hallucinate for 16 hours.  Read the rest of this entry »

New country, Bolivia! We had heard nothing but amazing things about this cheap and unspoiled country. We crossed the border effortlessly and made our way to the famous Lago de Titicaca. The lake is so huge it looks like an ocean. It is boarderd by Peru on one side and Bolivia on the other. We choose to explore the lake from the Bolivia side because we heard it was more ethentic and less touristy. Unfortunately we would miss the famous Peruvian floating reed islands but you can’t see everything.

Copacobana is situated on a bay close to many small islands. Lucky for us we arrived on Easter Friday and the prices were inflated 3x! We were happy to find a hostel considering hundreds of families had traveled in from the country side and were set up in tents along the entire bay and in many of the central parks! Our hostel was so full that people were setting up tents on the roof! At dusk a candle light presession started at the church. Hundreds of people lit candles and followed the body of Christ and The Virgin Mary down the streets of the town for hours. To our surprise the gents carring Jesus were wearing what looked like KKK outfits! WTH. Very confusing for us of coarse but to them it was just another Good Friday. After the crowds of really short people started to get to us, we headed back to the hostel for a classy $4.50 bottle of wine on the roof. The views of the lake are spectacular but it is not called the highest naviagetable lake for nothing. It gets very cold here and the water temperature is freezing!

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