Rurrenabaque - Day 2 - Flight to La Paz, then night bus to Uyuni
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The Pampas tour was all over, so we returned to the Jaguar tour office in the morning to get a lift back to the airport. They also include a free t-shirt in the price of the tour, which is a decidedly low quality garment, yet it's amazing how much you appreciate a new option in your backpack after this long on the road :)
So back in to our tiny little plane, and fortunately there were no puddles on the football field, so we were able to take off and fly back to La Paz. I remember when investigating that it was actually possible to get a jeep back, but it involves going up 'death road' and takes some ridiculous amount of time like 15 hours so a flight was looking pretty good.
Back in La Paz I headed down Cafe Naira for brekky, which is a popular place for backpackers and makes you feel at home. Strangely enough I ran in to Tom and Eleanor that I had hiked the mountains of Huaraz, Peru with. Since then they had been cycling across various parts of South America (see their blog http://www.topatagonia.co.uk/) and were currently learning all they could from a German/Swiss couple that was going in the opposite direction. Strangely enough I didn't have a lot of advice to offer people cycling across this great continent so I just listened with fascination to their trials and tribulations :)
I wandered back to Hostal Cactus (which houses Jaguar tours) and picked up my backpack that I had stowed of the day until I can catcha night bus to Uyuni, and while I was there introduced Tom and Eleanor to where I had booked my Pampas tour, I was happy enough with my Pampas tour and willing to pass o nthe recommendation.
Just a day of wandering around the markets in La Paz, looking at strange object that I believe were llama fetuses on a staff....different. I ended up back at Cafe Naira with Tom and Eleanor again later in the day, and met 2 kiwi girls who had been on the Bala tour in the Pampas while we were on Jaguar. Essentially it sounds like we did identical tours, but just happened to camp a few 100 metres apart in the Pampas.
Finally it was time for my night bus to Uyuni so I farewelled my friends and made my way to the bus terminal. I'm glad I had read up a bit on this, since all the advice I heard was that the bus ride will get REALLY cold, and they were right. This would have to be close to the coldest I've ever been!!! Fortunately I had prepared with all my layers of clothing, as well as a thick poncho that I had bought in Puno, plus a blanket. My feet felt like ice blocks, you wouldn't want to have circulation problems! Somehow I managed to sleep through some of it, but my god!!! Did I mention how cold it was!!
Finally we arrived and as I stood waiting for my bus to be unloaded, there was an unfortunate Irish lad who was clearly torn between a need to immediately go to the bathroom, and concern about what would happen to his bag if he didn't claim it right away. I could see his bind, and offered to mind his bag for a few minutes. I must have seemed trustowrthy, or more likely, the bladder was about to explode because he took off for the nearest alley!
So it was in to Uyuni, and time to go find a salt flat tour, and get the blood flowing again!