Four days, five tourists, a cook and a driver in a 4x4. At risk of sounding lazy or dumb I saw natural wonders that often went beyond my vocabulary. For now at least some odd reflections, a list of the locations and a link to the (dubious authenticity of) photographs.
Laguna Amorilla y Casetes
Elizo y Grands
Salvador Dali’s inspiration (I can't remember the name)
Geisers (5000 m above sea level)
Uyuni Salt Flats
Leaving Tupiza in a fake Slazenger cap and Addidas semi-rainproof jacket. Everytime I catch my reflection – which mercifully isn’t often out here – I feel like I’m about to be introduced to a dodgy boxing instructor.
Walking out from the crop of houses in Kollpani village at sunset. Llamas. Peace. The most idyllic village.
Watching a young girl in red round up three donkeys. (Inevitable flashbacks to Heidi, the television series, not the ex-girlfriend).
A goat skull in the grass, some sports shoes.
Eating Daisy’s soup with Jordi, Manuel, Joaquim and Fernando in a hut. Evening light.
The way Emilio (our driver) introduces every single new location in exactly the same casual humble way. With his body twisted in our direction and his elbow as a prop on the back of the seat.
Dawn. I don’t see it enough (or at least not from the right end of the telescope, as it were).
You know you are in trouble, addictively speaking, when you are smoking a cigarette at 5000 meters above sea level. A few years ago I may have taken some machoistic rock and roll pleasure in this fact - but now it just seems a bit sad.
There is no evidence of life at five thousand feet apart from geisers in the desert spewing water of 200 degrees plus.
Seven in a 4x4 chewing coca to keep the altitude shock at bay…a lot of lagoons, each one more spectacular than the last until Laguna Verde – set below a volcano that borders Chilli. The kind of place you are surprised to find looking as Photoshopped in real life as it does in postcards.
Busting my knee (again) jumping off a mud kerb in this crazy terracotta rock landscape. The horror of thinking I might have just ended my trip. (Thankful that it turned out to be more of a cautionary relapse).
Singing songs in a rank cold hostel somewhere in the national park, a little drunk on Whiskey. Thinking for once, some of these songs aren’t bad.
Finding a pair of sunglasses that suit me in Uyuni.
Being able to extract more than £60 from a cash point.
Salt Hotel in Colchani. A table made of salt upon which is placed a pot of table salt. I thought it was a joke.
Constantly weighing the issues of aesthetics and poverty with a camera.
Speechless on the flats. Sunrise. Alien beauty.
Wind, Sand, chapped lips, bad hair, camararderie.
Buying an item of tourist Llama wear, despite myself.