A Little Town Called Uyuni

June 7, 2010 (Day 20)

After boarding our "heated" tourist bus in La Paz the previous evening, we woke up in the morning, freezing cold, even under our blankets. After scraping the frost off the bus window, I figured that we must have reached our destination, Uyuni, slightly ahead of the scheduled arrival time. I guess when they advertise a bus as having heating and cooling, they don't necessarily mean actual heat or air conditioning, but blankets and the cool night air. But enough about that, we stepped out of the bus to be greeted by a bunch of people soliciting business for their tours and hostels. It's not even 6:30am, barely light outside, we're a step off the bus in the freezing (and I mean, freezing cold), and they want us to sign up for a tour right there and then?!?  Please! Get out of my way! Thank you very much! Let me grab our bags off the bus before they disappear! 

We were expecting it to be cold but not this cold!  The frigid cold temperatures caught us a bit off-guard and we weren't really prepared for it as we didn't reserve a place to stay, thinking it was a small town and could find a place within a few minutes.  But in fact, the city was sprawled out and the bus dropped us off in a non-commercial area so we, smartly or foolishly, accepted the first hostel offer we received and we were getting into a stranger's jeep to get to it.  Hmm, there's two of them and three of us. Certainly, we can take them on if they were planning something foolish with us! 

So we arrived at Hostal Marith in downtown Uyuni

and entered the lobby

where we noticed the locked-up rolls of toilet paper

and then we walked across the courtyard

to our room (sorry about the mess but we're backpackers after all)

and yes, that is a styrofoam ceiling with styrofoam crown molding. We were certainly living it up in style in Uyuni!

And well, I guess I forgot to take a photo of the washroom but I'll try to illustrate it to you in words. Picture a regular washroom with a shower, toilet, sink, and a floor drain in the middle but there's no barrier separating the shower from the rest of the room. So when you dared to turn on the shower with its copper coil heating element, not only did you have to worry if you'd get electrocuted but everything in the room got wet as well.  Nevertheless, Hostal Marith protected us from the elements that night so I won't complain.

Well besides sleeping, there really isn't much to do in Uyuni. Probably the biggest attraction in town would be the big slide in the local park, and yes, we tested it out. The goods news is it became considerably warmer by 10 am.  

Other than that, there really isn't much to see or do besides walk around town, watch the locals congregate around the propane tank delivery truck, eat at a restaurant (they all appeared to sell the same type of food catered to tourists - i.e. pizza), exchange some money, get your hair done at a salon, watch the military do their thing,

and oh yeah, the only reason why we were here, to book a Salar de Uyuni tour with one of the local tour operators.

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