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South America 2016: Day 11 (Bolivia 01): Dec 02

Early morning flight to La Paz.

We have a bunch of hours to kill before our flight to Uyuni, so we decide to go down into the core of downtown La Paz. Exit the plane, go through immigration and customs and stuff and… They didn’t ask for the yellow fever exemption thing we bought from the travel clinic. Oh well. We need to look for luggage storage. But the shop clerks don’t seem to understand what we’re asking. Enter Luis Aguilar Escobar, an airport worker, he shows us the way to the luggage storage out at gate 11.

We also follow him on to the mini bus from the airport. He pays for our fare, and we talk about what we’re planning to do, how he knows English, his kids, etc. The sketchy feeling wears off… He doesn’t seem to be leading us to our eventual deaths. Yay. 

There are currently three cable car lines, yellow, green, and blue. We didn’t figure out where they lead to, but there seems to be plans to build one near the airport! That’d be cool. 

Downtown now, we hop out of the bus and walk a little to a money exchange. $100USD to just under 700 boliviano. Not bad. We pay him back for the fare, 12BOB and we ask him to join us for lunch across the street. He tells us that when he was in Vegas, some kind stranger helped him out when he needed it and he was paying it forward. We’re the lucky recipients :). After some translating, we get our food and the servings are huuuuge. Gayaanan barely had any of his and was full. We had Sandia drink (watermelon!) and saw the news about the fallen plane in Columbia… Our complete lunch cost? 300. Ouch. 

We say our goodbyes and jump into a taxi to the Valle de la Luna, Moon Valley. Half an hour ride, here we are. 15BOB entry, ehh…. Kinda interesting, but it gets old fast. Essentially a bunch of cool tall mineral and rock formations. Meh. 

We have some more time but no other ideas of what to do, so we head to the airport early. Let’s get to Uyuni! 

Gayaanan got some good news. Noah found his wallet! Lucky, lucky… He arranged to pick it up from him in Cusco. 

Easy check in, there was no line. They made me check in my bag as well. We were sent downstairs which led to… Baggage claim. We were so lost. A Korean lady led the way as a bus pulled up and then we knew it was going to Uyuni. There were about 12 people on the bus. Which, obviously, resulted to about 12 passengers on the plane! Quick one hour flight. 

The airport in Uyuni is so small, only two airlines service it, and there’s no baggage thing, they just drop it off at the door. Got our ride from the tour company, to our Salt hotel within the city of Uyuni.

Still under construction, Hotel Casa Andina, but really nice design. Almost everything was made of salt! Bricks for the counter, the bedframes, chair frames, walls, pretty cool. We drop off our stuff and get ready for late night stargazing out in the salt flats. It’s gonna be cold! 

Driving out, grabbed some snacks and water. Start the drive out to the Salt flats, I’m not sure how long it took, I fell asleep. We arrived by same Salt hills and started setting up the tripod for star shots. Cold. Windy. City lights :@… Still kinda nice though, so many stars, and so clear.

Several hours later, done, done, it’s late, let’s go home. Zzz

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