Countries 6 Hotels 19 Cars 35
Flights 12:flying time 46.52 hours
Rickshaws 4 Buses 3 Elephant 1 Boat 1
Cog-wheel train 2 Cable cars 4 Subway 4 Ferry 2
Minibus 21 Coach 2 Catamaran 1 Funicular 3
Pick up truck 1 Land cruiser 8
I left the hotel at 8 this morning for my 9.40am flight to La Paz. The lovely Eusebio checked me in and said goodbye. The airport at Uyuni is tiny, but there are lots of police/soldiers standing around. I saw the plane land and my case being wheeled out on a trolley pulled by a human and then we were allowed to board. There were only 6 passengers, including me, on the plane, and as the captain and the plane were ready, we took, off ten minutes early.
I took some photos of the salt flats from the plane window.
Forty- five minutes later we were at La Paz airport and by the time I got to the baggage reclaim, about five minutes, my bag was there waiting for me, one of the best airport to airport experiences I’ve had. However once through the airport exit, no guide, he turned up about ten minutes later. There was a shooting at the terminal my plane was supposed to be, so they sent it to another one, but they didn’t advise where my plane had come in to, and the driver and guide had been at the airport since 9am to ensure they were there to meet me, hey ho, best laid plans.
There are protests in La Paz on most days of the week, and today was no exception, the protestors block the roads, the drive to my hotel usually takes about 30 minutes, but it took 1 ½ hours because we had to do a massive detour to avoid the protesters, (there were three protests today), to get to my hotel.
The infamous bowler hatted women really stand out on the streets of La Paz. They can wear up to ten petticoats under their skirts, the aim is to look well fed. In most cases, their black, waist length hair is parted down the middle and put in two plaits, which are attached with some sort of braid or decoration, to keep them at the back of the body, and of course on their heads the bowler hat. They also have a brightly coloured blanket that they wrap diagonally around the body to use as a bag, the contents of the bag are kept at the back of the body with a large knot tied at the front. In the pocket of their frilly skirt, a mobile phone. I took a couple of sneaky shots as we were going to the hotel.
I saw these women in a variety of roles, stall holders selling a wide range of goods; anything from water, sweets, fruit and veg, meat, one was making marshmallow and selling jelly, operating money exchanges and tourist trips. These traditionally dressed women used to be discriminated against because of their style of dress, they weren’t allowed on public transport and in restaurants, during these times they mainly wore black. This has now changed and they dress in very bright colours, only wearing black when in mourning.
My guide, Ivar, recommended a coffee shop that does soya milk, so after I had freshened up I went there for a quite nice soya cappuccino, my first since my travels started, what a treat, and I was obviously feeling better because I managed to eat something too.
Walking back to my hotel one can see, in the distance, the jigsaw of terracotta houses on the hills overlooking the city. Back in my room I heard what sounded like explosions and fireworks, Ivar confirmed the next morning that the protestors use these as part of their protest. Bolivia is a mining country and it is not illegal to have explosives, so yes what I heard was explosions!