Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So the north of Chile, the desert, was where we headed next. Pretty hot during the day and yet freezing at night, go figure! So we headed to death valley:

and moon valley, where me and pete attempted moon walking (to no avail) and then watched the sun set on the sand dunes.
(Cat, Tori & Pete)

The next day we went to Laguna Caja, the floating lakes, and did a lot of pissing about!!
(Me and Cat)

We then headed for the real travelling of Bolivia on a 3 day tour to Uyuni.

The first day we went from 2,300m (san pedro) to 4,700m!! The ausie girl we were travelling with (Cat) had pretty bad altitutude sickness, but luckily the rest of us were ok. Drinking coca tea, and chewing on coca leaves definately helped.

We saw some pretty beautiful stuff tho, some geysers (which stank):
a green lake: a white lake: and a red lake:
and swam in some hot springs:

We stayed at a real shit hole tho, and were really glad to get moving and see the flamingo´s:

(my flamingo impression!)
Unfortunately, the other jeep in our convoy run out of petrol on the second day, and we didn´t have enough for both of us, so we had to go back to a small village, and from there we caught a bus straight to uyuni, missing out the salt hotel. But as luck would have it, the bus got a flat tire, and the spare wasn´t pumped up enough! so after it started getting dark, cold, and scary and about 20 jeeps drove past us without stopping we managed to stop a truck which happened to have an air compressor, and luckily they didn´t want to murder a bunch of tourists! They kindly pumped up the spare tire, and we were finally on our way again to uyuni.

The next morning we did get to go to the salt flats, which were pretty awesome! and we took all the usual photo´s:

We also went to the Cactus Island (called fish Island in spanish, I have no idea why!)

and we popped into the train cemetary on our way back to uyuni again!!

We were worried we would never get out of Uyuni, as our bus the next morning was delayed because of political reasons (road blocks not letting them thru) but we finally headed off to Potosi leaving in the late afternoon, i´ve never been so keen to leave a place! Even though the local women did wear the coolest outfits:

We arrived late at night in Potosi, but managed to tag along with some guys on our bus that were on an organised tour. They had a hostel waiting for them, with space for us, and a tour to the mines the next day which we were welcome to join, all sounded pretty sweet, even tho the guide was a bit of a dick. The people on the tour were really cool tho, a great english couple that we got on swimmingly with.

So the next morning we joined them on their tour of the mines, and got to blow up some dynamite and had an awesome experience going into the mines, i´m definately glad I don´t have to do that 10 yours a day!!! Some of the holes we had to climb in were tiny!

We then headed on to Sucre (technically the capital of Bolivia) and a really beautiful city. Here we met up with a couple of finnish girls on our uyuni trip, and mostly just chilled out, enjoying the good weather, great views, and really good food!!(Pete, Lotta and Jenny)
The view of Sucre from a great little cafe.

We then caught a flight on the military airline (really fucking cool, no passport necessary, and no luggage checks either!!) to Santa Cruz, altho we got straight in a taxi to Samaipata, a beautiful sleepy town in the middle of a lush green valley. It´s famous for it´s waterfalls and Inca ruins:

We stayed in a really cool hostel, with some other great English guys, and decided to go swimming in the waterfalls. Unfortunately that day it decided to piss it down, so after hiding in a cave under the waterfall, until it got too wet and so deep we almost had to swim out, we managed to find another cave (this one dry) and played cards until it finally stopped raining (and hailing!!) so we could explore a little! A really great day tho, besides the rain!!! (Pete,Claire and Muzza)

We then headed back to Santa Cruz, braved the scarriest, biggest, mother fucking confusing bus station I have ever seen, survived the hottest bus ever, and ended up in Cochabamba. Unfortuantely it was still raining here, worse than England! So we didn´t stay long. We checked out the Cristo de Concordia statue, that´s supposedly bigger than Rio (i´m not sure i belive it!) and then caught a bus on to La Paz.

La Paz is a pretty cool city, with great markets, including the witches market (kinda scary, u can get llama foetus´ here!). We chilled out for a bit, then headed on a 12 hour jeep ride to the jungle, the hotest bumpiest and scariest ride so far. Our driver was a dude, but certainly had a death wish, overtaking lorries on the tiniest dirt road with a 800m drop! But we finally made it to Rurrenbaque and headed on a 3 day jungle tour.

We saw lots of monkeys: alligators: and lots of birds, even a relation of a guinea pig (that was huge).
We went fishing for pirana´s, Pete managed to catch about 10, but I only caught 2!We went swimming with dolphins (pink river dolphins, which were really ugly!), in the same river as we had seen alligators and caught pirana´s! went hunting for anaconda´s, but unfortunately (or maybe thankfully) we didn´t see any.

We also saw some pretty amazing sunsets over the jungle:

and one night our guide caught some baby gators for us to hold:

Was a really great trip (even managed not to get too many mozzie bites!), and met some great people, especially 2 irish guys, one of which pete got on a little too well with:

When we got back to Rurrenbaque, we were meant to catch a plane back to La Paz the next day, but unfortunately it rained all night (the runway is grass, so planes can´t land when its wet!! stupid huh!!) So we had to wait till the next day, when there was a strike in the whole of Bolivia, every restaurant and shop was closed, well at least they all looked closed, but if you went to the side door and knocked, some were actually open, just pretending to be on strike. It was crazy, rurrenbaque was like a ghost town. But luckily the airline weren´t on strike so we did eventually make it back to La Paz, ready for death road the next day and then on to Lake Titcaca.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


So we had to kill some time before our flight to Easter Island, so we headed to La Serena, on the coast of Chile. We had wanted to visit the observatory there, as they have 300 days of clear skies a year, unfortunately the 2 nights we were there it was cloudy!!!

So instead we went on a day trip to Dama`s Island to see the bottlenose dolphins, which well made up for it, they swam so close to our little boat, and we nearly tipped over in excitement when everyone shot over to the left all at once!!

There was also a really cute fisherman who showed us his catch of tuna:

We then headed back to Santiago and got our flight to Easter Island, we were so excited, and it didn´t disappoint. We stayed for 3 days, the first day we arrived we wandered around the town and saw our first Moai statue: and watched the sun set.

The next day we went on a organised trip to see the statues around the island and the quary where they were carved.

They believe the Moai were carvings of ancestors which were erected facing villages to protect them and watch over them. They were carved in the quarries by groups of artists which were paid with food. They became so popular tho, that the island began to be engrossed by them making bigger and better than their neighbours, and due to overpopulation and felling of trees for transporting the Moai, they started running out of food, which brought on war among villages. The Moai were then toppled over by rivalling villages.

The most majestic of all the Moai we saw, were the 15, resurrected in the early 90`s:

The photo just doesn´t do it justice!! They are massive and so awe-inspiring. The tallest one (I liked to call Grawp - HP fans will know what i mean) was over 10m tall!

We then went to the quary, where they literally carved into the rock face to create these, and then sat them into holes in the ground to finish them off before moving them to the villages, many km´s away.

We then spent the afternoon on a beautiful beach, it was great weather!
The next day we went diving, around a sunken Moai, which was really cool, and saw some great coral. The waters here are some of the clearest in the world, as it´s the most isolated place in the world!

We then walked up to the top of one of the three extinct volcanoes on the Island for some beautiful views of the Island, and inside the crater.
The next day we were heading back to Mainland Chile, unfortunately, back to the real world of travelling again. But first we decided to hire some skooters for a lap around the Island, to see the seven moai facing out to sea, and quickly pop by the 15 again. Unfortunately it absolutely pissed it down, and we were soaked, but it was great fun, and well worth the wet plane journey!
Back in Chile, we headed straight up to San Pedro de Attacama, the Chilean desert, and then on to Bolivia.