Salt village, the bricks are all made of salt.
Quite a late start this morning, collected by our 4WDs at 10.30am and headed off into the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni. Only drove about 25 minutes before stopping for some salty photo opportunities, a little community with houses, a church and shops made of salt bricks. We bought a little souvenir cup here, with dice in them. Will be very handy for monopoly and quite cute! Drove on to what we think is one of the illegal hotels that the government is trying to remove. It´s in the middle of a large expanse of salt and is made with salt bricks. The rubbish is just buried in the flats and dread to think what happens to the sewerage. Bolivia has such wonderfully diverse natural areas but appears to make no effort to protect them.
4WDs on the salt lake
Perhaps we are being paternalistic, but unless some controls are put in place to cover waste, sewerage, rubbish etc., these wonderful areas will disappear under a layer of grime in the not too distance future. The average person in the street here just drops their rubbish as they walk, or throws it out the car window, and to be fair there are not too many rubbish bins around.
Anyway, next stop was a small salt facility where the poor workers were digging away in the blazing sun. Not only does the sun come from above, but it works its way through your defences by reflecting up from the salt as well, so can get very burnt very easily. We slathered on the sunscreen and kept on hats, but still felt a slight ¨glow¨in the evening! Stopped for lunch at Incahuasi, basically an ancient coral island in the middle of the flats - quite a strange site.
Salt workers toiling in the heat and sun reflection.
This area has been developed for tourism with a restaurant and very clean toilets. Unfortunately, from the smell on the other side of the island, the sewerage is just drained off onto the flats so maybe someone might help them develop an ecological toilet at some point? Lots of them in country Australia, self-composting etc.. Projects like this would be good for groups that work in these countries. Met a couple of English guys here on a tandem bike - they´ve ridden from Alaska and are going to the far south of Sth America! Drove on to our hostel for the night at Bella Vista, had dorm rooms with a shower, but hot water until 7pm only. Unfortunately, the water (ie: ALL water) ran out at about 6pm so no washing at all, no toilet flushing, no washing hands etc.. Luckily we´d had a quick wash, so didn´t feel as cruddy as some of the others the next morning. To get here, we had to drove over a salt lake, looked just like the beaches in northern Queensland - very white with clear water. Not a lot to do here, so had dinner and went to bed early (yes, we know, again!).