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Des & Tom´s Latino Adventures!

Travelling light... |

Monday 13th March//
Continued the Uyuni tour into the salt flats today. First we stopped in a small settlement with a salt museum... decide not to go in as it was about the size of my room at home hehe. Got to sit in this chair made completely out of salt tho which was cool:)

Headed on to the salt flats proper after. Were amazing... much more so than those in the Atacama desert. Was completely white like I had imagined and they just continued for what seemed to be like forever. There were loads of little mounds of salt everywhere where salt miners had piled it all up to shovel into trucks later on. Saw some of them actually doing that.. looked like very hard work!

Drove further onto the salt flats where we ended up driving through shallow water. Was amazing as the salt obviously made the water still so all the mountains around us were reflected!! So beautiful! Very funny because Jo and Lee decided they wanted to do that part of the drive on the roof of the jeep and yea.. hehe because we hit the watery parts they were absolutely sprayed in salty water hehe. Couldnt stop laughing when they came back in as they looked like mentalists! Jo with her braid caked in white and her face covered in white too hehe and Lee with his hair standing up on end and looking quite gray from the salt hehe.

Soon after that we headed to this island with loads of huge cacti! From far away I thought there were actually loads of people standing on it! hehe:) Very cool. Had a lovely lunch buffet there which was nice then explored the island a bit. Climbed up to the top and had the most amazing view ever! All around us we could see mountains reflected perfectly into the water! So beautiful...:) On the way up I pulled out a spike from one of the cacti was sooo long! Like 3 inches long! Wouldn't want to fall on any of those.. The tallest cactus is 12m tall I thinkifI remember correctly.

Anyways after that island we made our way back to Uyuni. Stopped off along the way to see the Salt Hotel up close. Was very cool completely made up of salt blocks!! Before getting there though we had a bit of a scare as we stopped to take photos somewhere in the middle of the watery desert part then the jeep stopped... hehe luckily didnt take too long to get it started again but we all had to help push it to get it going hehe:) Got a comedy photo outside of the salt hotel as we had to push it AGAIN! No more stopping for us!

Back at Uyuni Tom and I got our bags sorted and used the internet. Then we had dinner wtih Jo and Lee at this lovely restaurant called Minuteman Pizza. Seriously was the most amazing pizza I have ever tasted!! Had huge cakes there too but refrained and settled for a big cookie instead hehe:)Cause thats better!

After that finally made it onto our bus up to La Paz.. yes now it gets interesting. Basically abotu an hour into the bus ride the bus kept trying to turn around!! Tom and I were laughing our heads off thinking how on earth could a bus that goes frequently not know where it is supposed to go! To make things worse the bus really struggled to turn around as all the places it found to turn around kept makign the bus get stuck! Anyways finally turned around and ent back to this town that we stopped off at early because wait for it.. the bus conductor just had to get him and the driver a bottle of coke.. But yes.. the conductor came back and asked everybody who had their bags in the back compartment to check if their bags were still there because they felt something fall off... hmm.. so yes our bags were in the back so we went to check. My bag and only my bag out of loads was the only one to fall off! Yay! So after crying my way back down to my seat in th e bus I was called up to the front to sit with the bus driver as we turned back for a bit to try and find my bag. No luck unfortunately which is no surprise as it was the middle of the night but anyways the two offered to give me money. Got a spanish dude to help me negotiate and managed to get 200USD off of them! Very lucky as found out later that by law they are only required to give me 10 Bolivianos per KG of my bag which is well nothing!

After much crying and panicking about travellers cheques etc... arrived finally into Oruro where we had to change buses for La Paz. Got my money off the guys then headed for our bus. Unfortunately missed our original bus because we had to look for my bag but they arranged for us all to get onto another one. Called Dad to find out what to do, then managed to get some sleep on our 3 hour journey to La Paz.

Tuesday 14th March//

Woke up feeling a bit better. Was feeling even better once we saw our first glimpse of La Paz. Was amazing as we came down the mountain looking over this gorgeous city! Was soo cool because all the buildings were tiered down the mountain face!:)

Finally arrived at the bus station; a really beautiful yellow and white colonial style building! And headed to the very nice Hotel Continental especially for us to recover from our bad luck. Well my bad luck hehe. But Tom bless him was feeling pretty much just as bad!

Spent the day sorting out all my stuff basically. Not very interesting just went to the tourist police to get a police report. Did some shopping for clothes, toiletries etc... Then spent the evening chilling out watching TV!:)

Wednesday 15th March//
Tried to sort out our trip to the jungle today. Funny because did yet more shopping for stuff that I need but literally couldnt find any normal clothes shops or a place to buy a towel! I asked this lady at one of the tour places where I could get a towel, yes I was that desparate hehe. She proceded to give us directions ot a place 30minutes away by taxi!!! Hmm.. do bolivians not like washing or something? hehe:)

Anyways yea didnt book our tour where we wanted to because we went to the office and it was closed for siesta at like 3 or something then we returned at 6 figuring that they would be open for a hiwle cause they had such a long ass siesta but all the staff that could help us book our trip were gone!! How lazy are they?!

So yes Tom was very disheartened as he really wanted us to sort out our tour. But decided just continue on my search for clothes etc.. Tom was tired of walking around tho so he decided to go back to the hotel. I continued on and got a couple of tops etc.. socks and stuff. Stayed out a bit too late as was dark and was wandering around by myself.. hmm probably not the best idea but was fine.

Back at the hotel we were really happy as we decided to check out the Deep Rainforest tour operator in the lobby of our hotel and got an amazing deal with them for a 2 days jungle trip and a 3 days pampas tour as well as flights starting the next day!!! Was much cheaper than anticipated so we were very happy as you can imagine:)

Finally got my towel too! Turns out that loads of stalls in the market just around the corner from our hotel sold them... was so happy to find that out having walked around the whole of La Paz in search of one hehe not. Got a swimming suit too.. yes a proper one piece hehe:) not so sexy I can tell you... it is green and blue and well yea has a generally skanky pattern on it. So annoyed cause I could have gotten a passable black one if it werent for the fact that they seemed to be all made for Rick Walla!!! (is that how you spell his name? hehe). Hopefully will be able to replace it once we get to Mexico!

Thursday 16th March//
Got up mega early today to catch our 6:45am flight to rurrenbaque!! Argh! Soo tired but already had a taxi booked for the airport so didnt have to do much work when we got up:)

Arrived at the airport about an hour or so before our flight but the desk didnt even open up until half an hour before the flight!! So yes we checked in and then made our way to the gate.. realised I had my penknife in my handcarry tho argh!! So turned back and had to check in my bag with that put in it. Tom very kindly bought us some burger king for breakfast whilst I lined up again hehe:)

Once we got the desk though they told us to come back to the desk in an hour or so because our flight was delayed as they needed to find out the weather conditions in Rurrenabaque as it was too rainy earlier to fly.

Anyways we made a friend with this nice lady caleld Jenny who we then ended up having even more burger king with hehe:) Very healthy I know... So yes hung out and chatted she was a nurse but is now on a trip for a year and is planning to do another year trip straight after pretty much!!! Crazy! But yea we all headed down to the desk again.. she went off and we were left behind.. hmm... she was off to rurrenabaque too but she had priority because her flight stopped off at two more places.. well thats what we figured anyways. So yes we were told to come back to the desk in another hour.. no luck yet again.. even worse luck in fact as we found out our flight was delayed until 3 in the afternoon!! And might not even leave if the weather conditions did not clear up argh!!!

So we booked ourselves into the LAB VIP room where we lounged about for 7 hours using the internet in the room and eating thier complementary pastries hehe:) could have been a lot worse.

Lunch was yet another servng of Burger king.. felt really sick after it ugh! Had nothing else in the airport tho!!

In the end we didnt check in until 4 as our flight ws delayed further. Were happy to check in though:) So anyways, we finally made it onto our plane to Rurrenabaque!! yay!!!:)

Was kind of scary as the plane was absolutely tiny and we could hear everything going on in the cockpit hehe.. not so great especially when you hear loads of beeping!!! Plus, there was this annoying old lady in front of me who kept stading up and looking out this other dudes window next to her. Know its irrational but I kept feeling like she was tipping the plane over hehe:) Just wanted to shout at her to sit down!!

Finally in RUrrenabaque we got our bags and went in a taxi with two other israeli girls. Tom was paranoid for the whole journey to town as his bag was put on the roof of the car and he didnt want what happened to me to happen to him obviously hehe:)

Went to the tour office before the hotel to sort out what time we had to get up etc.. Funny as the normal dude who works there wasnt there and this lady was ther einstead breastfeeding her baby whilst she explained to us in spanish what we needed etc hehe:) Was intersting to say the least.

At our hotel chilled out a bit and were given these drinks by the owners as a welcome kind of thing. Felt bad but put them down the drain cause we didnt know what they gave us and felt it would not be such a great idea to risk getting bad stomachs the night before we were supposed to be off on a tour the next day.

Later in the evening bought a very cool red sun hat hehe:) Tom got a military one.. not so cool:) jk Had a bit of dinner at this place celled the mosquito bar.. dont know why that would be an appealing name for a bar but oh well food was good:)

Very funny because Rurrenabaque generally made us feel like we were back in Asia. To add to that all the people looked really filipino!! Felt like I was back in the barrio hehe:)

Friday 17th March//
Headed to the tour office relatively early to find out that we were a bit too early so we headed out for some breakfast. When we got back we met the other dudes on our tour; a British married couple called Sam and Andy, these cool dudes Caroline and Martyn (funny as she has lots of gorgeous red dreads and he has no hair at all:))also from England and Su this chinese guy who lives in Canada. Our guide was this guy called Ivan who is actually the brother of the guy we bought the tour from in La Paz!!

So yes to start off with we took a small jeep for about 3 hours stopped off for lunch then continued on for a bit to where we had to change over to a boat. Wasnt a great ride very bumpy and we were covered in dirt by the end.

Took the boat with 7 people on it to our camp site. Took ages to get there but was a nice ride as we saw plenty of wildlife along the way. Saw quite a few pink dolphins which were cool, plenty of beautiful birds of all sizes, lots of cute small spider monkeys and huge ass howler monkeys too!

Late in the afternoon we arrived at our 'campsite'. Was nice more of a lodge really. We all moved into this huge room with lots of beds with mattresses and separate mosquito nets. Some people had pillows, I didnt, not that bothered about them anywasy but was kind of happy I didnt have one as they looked like and probably had been slept on by plenty of smelly sweaty heads.. hmm.. nice..

Relaxed a bit after arriving then we headed out to a viewing point to see the sunset. Was beautiful!:) Looking over the pampas and seeing the sunset:)Very cool with the birds flying past. On the downside as the sunset the mosquitos came out to feast on us all so we were soon on our way back to the lodge hehe. Made our way back very slowly though as we looked for Caymans on the way back i.e. alligator crocodile type animals (I know they are not the same!!). Was amazing when we saw them ass we flashed our flashlights into the water and could only see a scary red kind of laser shining back at you as the light from the torches hit their eyes!! scary!! Was even scarier cause our engine was not functioning very well so at one point as we tried to get closer to a cayman we actually ended up completely engulfing it hehe as we had no means to control the boat!! As we went directly into its head the little cayman leaped out of the water snapping and nearly fell into the boat at the front where Tom and Su were shouting in panic hehehe:) very funny

Back at campe we were given some dinner then I stayed up a bit later with some other dudes to play cards. Every traveller in the world seems to know how to play shithead!! So funny:) Forgot to mention the fact that there is another group that we kind of hang aroudn with as their guide Juan is amazing and seems to find animals all the time:)

Saturday 18th March//
Soon after brekkie the majority of us headed out for an Anaconda walk!! Very cool:) Kind of muddy and watery though hehe was literally thigh high in muddy water at one point and had a bit of a panic as I fell down onto my knees only luckily hehe:)

At one point in the walk we mad eit to this little island type of thing wehre there were loads of tress and such. Had a taste of this nice seed type thing as this guy David from the other group who is nice but seems to think he is like a jungle man or something cut it up and handed us a bit each. Tasted kind of like avocado.

Were about to leave the island having seen a cool owl when this other tour group showed up. The first guy that appeared arrived and started hacking at this poor tree with his machete!! Their guides then proceded to climb up this tree wher they had obviously spotted a snake and then proceded to smack it out of the tree!!! Wouldnt have been so bad if they just picked it up but they then started to pose with it individually just pulling at it.. hmm.. not very nice. Was an anaconda cobra by the way not quite an anaconda but poisonous nonetheless!

Anyways after they finished torturing the animal we decided to continue on with our walk and headed further out but came to a dead end. The water got too high, so high that the cool guide Juan (who is very short) was waist high or nearly in the water hehe:) people got photos with him cause they thought it was funny. So anyways after that headed back to where we left the boats where I got to have a good look at this dried up Cayman skin!! Aparently they killed it for dog food!! How sick is that! Why not just kill something less dangerous hehe. Nearby there were some grapefruit trees, David let me try some of one he picked.. sooooo good! So got one myself for dessert later hehe:)

Back at camp we had lunch followed by a nice long siesta!:) Fell asleep in my room as it was so comfy cause it cooled down during the day. Ran out later to get my clothes tho (left them out to dry) as these dark clouds started to come nearer... sure enough it started pouring majorly!! Like proper torrential rain! Very cool:) Was really nice watching it come down and cool everyone off:)

After our siesta we all headed out for some swimming with dolphins action! Very fun as we went out in our boats in search of the beautiful creatures. Went to a deep area where they live and all jumped in! Kind of scary as the water was very murky but worth it in the end as we could see the dolphins swimming nearby:) Martyn was funny as he thoguht he felt them swimming past and kept freaking out hehe:) Had my cool new swim suit on at this point hehe:)There were quite a lot actually, about 5 we counted very exciting!

Later in the evening we headed out for the sunset yet again, this time better prepared for the man eating mosquitos. We all got some nice cool beers which was nice and relaxing and had a good chat. The mossies got the better of us in the end tho as we just couldnt stand them anymore and had to head back to camp.

Had a nice dinner, but were dissappointed as this other group that was there before us had cake on their last night and we didnt ahve any for our final night boohoo! hehe:) Had abottle of wine to share between 11 of us tho so was fine! hehe:)

Stayed up a bit later again tonight with the same card crew:) Was nice as David let me try some of his grape liquor stuff called singani, very nice. On top of that heard some very interesting stories, the best being Jennies (another lady we met) as she told us about how she got nose sores cause she did too much coke in Columbia as she was ther for 5 months! hm.. hehe:) was interesting!

Sunday 19th March//
Last day of our Pampas tour! Woke up seriously early so see the sun rise this time. Was very cool but we got up a bit later than we were meant to so yea was annoying as they had to rush us to this place where the ground was basically like that on our anacnda walk.. I only had flip flops on... the sunset was beautiful though especially as you could see all the little spider webs glistening in the sunlight:)

Before heading back we had a bit of a drive around in the boat to try and see more wildlife. Saw a gross snake skin.. eww oh forgot to mention that I saw a cute little terrapin swimming with its head just out of the water next to our boat!:) Didnt see much more on that short drive though.

Back at camp with my many new bites from not being informed that I should not wear flip flops.. I am not bitter hehe:) we had breakfast and then started to pack all our things up. We were then soon back on the boat for our trip back to Rurrenabaque. Was happy that would be our last boat trip as my bottom could not handle anymore of the hard wooden seats hehe:) or more like planks.

Swapped back to the jeeps where we left them last time and headed back to Rurrenabaque. Stopped for some very cool piranha fishing at one point tho! Hilarious cause our guide Ivan was demostrating ot us how to catch one and he actually managed to catch one on his first go!! Tom did too! Very cool:) I unfortunately tried and tried but with no success.. boohoo! I kept feeling tugs but never caught one of the surprisingly tiny fish hehe. They did look very viscious though!

Continued in the jeep on our journey but did one more stop before Rurrenabaque as the cool guide Juan somehow managed to see a Sloth on a tree miles away from our moving jeep... hehe very cool dude:) Me, Caroline and Martyn ran into the trees to see it:) soo cool close up! Saw it slowly (but surprisingly fast for what I thought a sloth could do)climbing down a tree very cool! It was soo cute with a strangely small head hehe:)

Anyways back at Rurrenabaque we said our thank yous and gave our tips to the guides then arranged to meet up for dinner with our tour crew. Met up for dinner after getting showered etc and then had a nice meal all together. Yes.. was interesting as at one point this kid came up to our table and picked up my coke and started pouring it into something. Was a bit confused as it was already in a glass and thought maybe he worked at the restaurant. Anyways finally realised he was actually pouring my drink into his own bottle and pouring lots of it onto me in the process.. hmm... what a weirdo hehe. He finally lef twhen we all started shouting at him hehe. One of the most surreal events in my life I must say hehe dont know what he was thinking! Anyways ended nicely especially as I got to have Ube ice cream!!! :) Felt even more like the philippines after that hehe:) They call it Uba here tho.

Locations Visited: Uyuni, Oruro, La Paz

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