Salt Plains – Day Three

Posted in Bolivia at 4:36 pm by Jackson Lee

Throwing Frisbee’s in unusual places has been a hobby of mine since plastic first touched my hands. I’m particularly proud of my diving catch outside Rome’s Colosseum a few years back. Having watched the All Blacks kick extra long kicks at high altitude in South Africa, I had been looking for opportunities to break my P.B’s.


With that itch scratched, we were soon back on the road / path heading towards Desierto de Siloli and Dali’s stone tree.


The flat, brown, barren landscape of Desierto de Siloli is randomly littered with large volanic rocks which have been carefully placed, I’ve been told from a reliable source, by a giant stone gardener called Albert. Over geologist pleasing lengths of time, these rocks have been carved into twisted, dried boggy like shapes.


Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech (Aka Dali) painted the world through eyes warped with the near-insanity of surrealism during the mind provoking age of Einstein and Freud. Of Spanish origin, Dali traveled South America and its not hard to see why the ‘Stone tree / Arbol de Piedra’ (and its surrounding environment) became a major influences of his travels and art – and is now a deep-breath satisfying part of the Salar experience.



Continuing north, we pass by a series of small lagoons. The most important are laguna Hedionda, Chiarcota, Ramaditas, Honga and Canapa.


Adding to the geological diversity of southwestern Bolivia, we catch sight of Mount Ollagüe (5868m). Which is a (barely) active volcano located in northern Chile, on the border with Bolivia. Fumarolic activity is currently present. If you strain your face near the computer screen and screw your eyes up like an Asian, you will see a puff of smoke on the left hand side of the mountain in the distance.


Leaving behind the Flamingos of Laguna Canapa, lunch and weird Israeli music provided by the ghetto blasters of our follow travelers – we reach the small Salar de Chiguana and decided to go a little nuts (special thanks to Jet Li for inspiring the below photo) with Derek’s camera. Salar de Chiguana is only 3mm thick and provides a gentle introduction to the madness of the mighty Uyuni Salar (the worlds largest) – which we will visit tomorrow.


Our final nights accommodation is in the town of San Juan, which borders with the Salar de Uyuni. Built almost entirely of Salt, it sits on a hill overlooking the Salt plain / lake. Beds, tables, and many other items are constructed from large (heavy) blocks of Salt which are drilled out of the Salar (I’m not sure where from). See walls and bed foundations in the photo below.


In this picture, the gang are sitting in the hostel lounge enjoying some cheap Bolivian spirits after a salt dominated, Jamie (absolutely not related to Jamie Oliver) dinner creation. The floor is coated in a thick layer of heavy rock salt which crunch satisfyingly underfoot. Some of the seats (on right of picture) are made from stacked salt blocks. Quiet the novel experience.


The night sky was bright with the full moon. With all-America enthusiasm, Derek persuades both Elodie and myself to venture into the cold to take some ‘back lighting’ photos. Using a tripod, 30 second exposure times and a torch (Flash-light), we use Derek’s camera to snap these funky pictures.




1 Comment »

  1. Mustafa said,

    December 21, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Thanks vegan urbanite for kpenieg us on our toes! motivated! to do more for our fellow earthlings. An aspiring vegan indeed I will only buy milk from my friend who milks her own cow and lets the calf be with her round the clock -‘ calf friendly’ ! Pity the economics of our system doesnt allow for kindness in any form. But I really ought to phase dairy out . completely. Its just for the capaccino will work on black eventually This weekend to liberate’ some hens from the auschwitz laying farm up the road, can only take about 5 but , thats better than 0. They will earn their keep if they should choose to lay .but otherwise enjoy doing what chickens should do -range freely!Btw it would be nice to know your name!Keep postingthanks Bridget afellownatureanimalplanetbikelover

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