Finally, the *2nd chance we’d been waiting for since our honeymoon almost two years ago—a visit to Bolivia once again to attempt our voyage to the white wonderland of the Salt Flats.
We missed our flight.
It was only a matter of time before our warped sense of travel time caught up to us. Luckily, Conner speaks español and our gal pal at the Air Boliviano ticket counter hooked us up with another flight a few hours later. After a short spell in Sucre and pit stop in Potosi, we made it, finally, to Uyuni— quite a desolate little town with horrible food and absolutely nothing to do or see. Strictly a means to get to the Salt Flats. There was one, and only one good restaurant actually—a pizza joint called Minuteman, started by an American that moved from Boston to fulfill a life-long dream of opening up a thriving pizzeria and hostal. In Uyuni.
It was here we ate a delicious pesto and spinach pizza (some of the best we’ve had in South America) and met a lovely Irish couple we shared travel stories and swapped recs of places we had been. Wished we had more time with them, but alas, Tour de Salt Flats departed first thing in the morning!
We missed our freaking salt flat tour.
Apparently there was some miscommunication the previous day. We mistook a thumbs up and “hasta mañana” for all good! You’re checked in! Enjoy the flats! A very similar flashback to Machu Picchu. After Conner turned a little too heated and exchanged some heated words with a heated tour agent, I tagged in, cooled the waters and ended up working out a discounted rate with the same agency for the following day. And bonus! More time with our Irish friends! We returned to Minuteman, ate more pizza, exchanged more stories and decided the inevitable “we should totally plan a trip to visit each other!” Which, we would actually love. Fiona and Brian. Great duo.
On. Officially. To the salt flats!
Behind the scenes: Making of a rad salt flat picture!
We made it this time and embarked on the road trip from Uyini to Chile with a couple satirically-humored Brits (Eloise and Gambel) and two, extremely warm Germans (Dennis and Sabrina). Whenever you travel, you meet loads of people, many with great personalities, some you end up playing the who would be worse to travel with game and few you really, truly connect with. Luckily for this three-day excursion crammed into a jeep, our group fell under the few category. We were like siblings on a family road trip. We played car games, sang obnoxiously loud and tried to mimic each other’s foreign accents all day, every day. At night, we blared Christmas tunes (Sabrina even added a Santa Christmas candle to add to the yule-tide ambiance), played endless rounds of some very aggressive card games (Spoons and Slap Jack), and shared some of the worst meals ever created (think dried beef atop chewy hot dogs, atop soggy vegetables, atop french fries with a side of cold, stale bread. Ate every bit of it. We were starving.
When it came for bed, we were like restless kids with the giggles. All I can remember is Ellie begging Gambel to touch her foot because she wanted him to feel how cold it was. After about 5 minutes of foot talk, he finally touched it, in the form of a bite. Lights out!
Back to accents for a hot minute.
Apparently Americans sound like every character on Clueless and we’re really into kale smoothies and yoga. Although the kale/yoga bit is somewhat true. My favorite was Gambel’s (the Brit’s) best attempt at saying “banana.” As for the Germans, not as easy as saying “cheerio" and "ice lolly’s”—we butchered every word they taught us. Except for Trauven. Which means grapes. Very useful.
And now, a few words on the Salt Flats...
Otherworldly, lunar, extraterrestrial, the most colorful, colorless place in the world.
3,800 square-miles of salt spread out across Bolivia's remote southwest. Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world, an endless canvas of hexagonal tiles.
*Salt Flat attempt #1 was kiboshed due to “civil unrest” in Uyuni which resulted in a dusty 12-hour train ride with too much beer and not enough tissue to clog my obnoxiously leaky faucet of a left nostril. This was followed by another 4 hour horrendous bus ride packed with voluptuous Cholitas booty bumping Conner in the face. A lot. Funny at first, and then it got old.
W H E R E W E A T E / T O U R
Minuteman Revolutionary Pizza
60 Avenida Ferroviaria
Like I mentioned, the only place worth eating in all of Uyuni. The Pizza is fantastic, service—even better, and dessert—you'll want to try all of their homemade tortas on display as you finish your last slice of pizza. It's inside the Tonito Hotel.
World White Tours
After we smoothed over our little debacle, we really were satisfied with World White Tours. In fact, after hearing about other tours, I'd say our guide and the company is the best Salt Flat Tour in Uyuni.
M O O D M U S I C