Anthony on the Gringo Trail 2005 travel blog

Uyuni, between the desert mountains and the Salar Salt Lake

Locomotive in Train Cemetery

Train Cemetery

Line of dead locomotives

Train Cemetery



Last of the trains

So off I go on the local bus to Uyuni, for once not the only Westerner. 5 hours odd on dirt roads and fording occasional rivers. Fantastic views - which of course means big drops - of desert, mountains, weird rock formations, salt plains, etc. Uyuni is frankly a bit of a dump, god knows what it would be like without tourism. It is on the mountain edge of the Salar - Salt Lake. This is the highest (3,650 ms) and largest in the world, twice the size of the US Great Salt Lake. There are strange optical effects and mirages already.

Got my hostel, and booked my trip across the Salar to San Pedro de Atacama in the Atacama Desert in Chile. We visit various interesting features on the way, and I will get there Monday afternoon local time. Should be fun. So far there are two Spanish in my 4WD, one of whom is called Antoni, which will confuse everyone. There is very little to do here, but there is a great load of abandoned railway stock nearby at what is called the Train Cemetery. Sounded like photo opportunities so I walked a mile out of town to it and spent an enjoyable rest of the afternoon taking pictures.

In the evening I went out to eat, and more by luck than design ended up having the best night I have had yet here. It was a real travellers' joint, like you get in so many places, but I have generally been avoiding. Not a lot of options round here though. There were quite a few people in there, most of whom had obviously been enjoying the happy hour. Good loud music, wide mix of people, and a big log fire. So this pissed French Canadian girl started talking to me, and then her mate, and so on, until there was quite a load of us. They were mostly French speakers, but the Bolivians there didn't speak French, so some of it was in Spanish too, as well as occasional English. This got confusing sometimes, more so as the evening went on, though communication in general actually appeared to improve the more everyone drank (or at least it seemed to!) All in all it was very enjoyable. I got home no problem, always do. I had one of those moments though where I realised I was completely pissed, nearly 4 kms up towards space, on the edge of three countries in the middle of nowhere a very long way from home, a feeling I am not unfamiliar with and enjoy immensely, and a sign of being well settled into travelling.

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