Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Perspective Photos at the Salt Flats of Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni perspective photos


Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat.  While it serves practical purposes for the people of Bolivia, tourists love it because it makes a great backdrop for perspective pictures.

Visiting the salt flats was the primary draw for us when we planned our trip to Bolivia.  We didn't realize at the time that the salt flats are just one of dozens of must-see attractions in this country!

We woke up at 4am on the fourth day of our adventure with Tupiza Tours to see the salt flats.  We had breakfast on Incahuasi Island, an island full of cacti in the middle of the salt flats, then drove to the flattest point where the famous perspective pictures are possible.

Bolivia salt flats perspective photos



It's not easy to take perspective photos!  With the "smaller" person or object far into the distance, the photographer has to line up just right to make it look real.  With a little patience, you're left with fun pictures of the unique landscape.

Bolivia Salt Flats Perspective Photos
"Behind the Scenes"










Seeing the salt flats was a perfect ending to our four day adventure.

A special shout out to Elena and Peter, Russians who are also traveling on a round-the-world trip.  We met them after our overnight bus from Argentina dropped us off near the Bolivia border at 6am.  We wandered the streets until we found the border about a mile away and agreed to share a vehicle on the tour.  We couldn't have asked for a better couple to share in this crazy adventure!

Bolivia Salt Flats Perspective Photos

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Beauty of Bolivia

El Salar de Uyuni


We spent four days traveling in a 4x4 full of six people for up to 12 hours a day.

Salt flats tour vehicle

We only broke down once in the middle of nowhere.

SW Bolivia Circuit Tour


We slept in freezing temperatures, wrapped in our sleeping bags under several wool blankets.

Brrrrr!  We couldn't layer enough clothes on at night.


We suffered from altitude sickness since much of our tour was up to 16,500 feet above sea level.   We woke up as early as 4am each morning with splitting headaches, fatigue and numb extremities.

Bolivia salt flats at sunrise
While we hated waking up so early, we had to admit it was always worth it when we saw the sun rise and illuminate breathtaking views.


During these four days we had only one opportunity to shower.

These salty hot springs were a welcome rinse-off after two days of no showers.  We finally showered at the end of day #3.


As uncomfortable as it was at moments, these four days were some of the most memorable days of our trip.

The famous Árbol de Piedra ("stone tree")


The tour has been described as being like you are traveling in Mars. The sights are like nothing we have seen in the 35+ countries we have each visited.  Every few miles the landscape completely changed and we found ourselves oooooh'ing and aweeeeeing so often that you would think we were watching puppies on YouTube.



Aside from the mesmerizing landscapes, we enjoyed tasty food prepared by our group's personal chef and had the unique experience of spending one night in a hotel made completely of salt!

Waiting for our turn to shower at a hotel made completely out of salt


As cliche as it sounds, the pictures don't do Bolivia's landscape justice!

Bolivia train graveyard
Exploring the "train graveyard" in Uyuni

We highly recommend taking this tour of Southwest Bolivia if you're looking for a cheap adventure that will blow your mind.

Yemi walking around the sulfur geyers




Friday, June 13, 2014

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How to See Gran Buenos Aires in 2 Hours


Gaston is Yemi's good Argentinian friend from when they both studied abroad. From the moment he picked us up from the airport and they both talked passionately with their hands, it wasn't hard to tell why they were good friends. The car would swerve as Gaston turned around to Jan excitedly reminiscing about how much fun he they had traveling through Europe seven years ago.

Gaston has an affliction: he has an incessant need for speed!  "When I'm not speeding, I'm a bad driver because I'm so distracted. However, when I speed I have laser focus!" he once said with a straight face. Yemi already knew of his disease from when Gaston lost his mind while driving them along Germany's Autobahn years ago.


He excitedly showed us all his enablers toys around his garage before we had a homemade pizza dinner prepared by his lovely girlfriend, Martina, and her mom. "There's the Porsche Carrera, the All Terrain Sports ATV and my baby, the Ducati Monster 696 motor bike. Working on them in my garage is therapeutic to me!" he exclaimed. It wasn't a surprise that he offered taking Yemi on a Sunday morning ride around Gran Buenos Aires on his "baby."

Gaston and his baby

They rode fast through the city past Los Bosques de Palermo which is a beautiful park in the daytime that transforms into Buenos Aires' red light district at night. They then connected to General Paz highway and that's where Gaston's symptoms started to act up. By the time they hit 150 km/h, Yemi's attempt at being macho and not wrapping his hands tight around Gaston's waist had depreciated.


They made a stop for breakfast at San Isidro Partido, which is part of Greater Buenos Aires. Here they reunited with another friend from school, Flavio, and his brother in law - all of them part of this biker's club. After breakfast they were off again to the highway for another spin around and back to the great city of Buenos Aires. Yemi really loved every bit of it.

Flavio and his baby

There is nothing more special that knowing locals when you visit a new country and certain experiences, such as this, are only discovered through insiders. Gaston and Martina were exceptional hosts throughout our stay in Buenos Aires. They showed us great hospitality and we are really grateful for this. They are also expecting a new baby girl and the more Gaston spoke about how excited he was about her arrival, the more we could tell that is affliction was getting cured, albeit very slowly.

Gaston and Martina on one of our many nights out


Monday, May 12, 2014

Stranded


"Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong."

We have been very lucky on this trip. There have been stressful travel days and visa issues, but nothing major enough to interfere with our plans.

Until April 9th. 

April 10th was supposed to be a long domestic travel day for us within Argentina. We had booked a rather expensive flight with one layover. The day before our flight, we got an email from the airline with an update on our flight. With Google Translate's assistance, we were informed that there was a national strike occurring on the day of our flights. There would be no flights, buses or even taxis throughout all of Argentina!

The airline made it clear that it was due to unions that don't work directly for them so there would be no refunds.  Our only option was to fly out a day early - in two hours! We quickly packed our bags and Jan ran a half mile through pouring rain to the laundromat to retrieve our laundry.

Argentinians take siestas seriously. The laundromat was closed from noon to 4pm!  Panic began to set in as our flight left at 3pm and we would not leave without our laundry. When you only have five outfits, loosing 70% of your laundry isn't an option!

Our hostel began making calls to notify the owner of the laundromat of our dire situation and with literally five minutes until our departure to the airport, they opened the store for us.

We were soaked from the pouring rain but happy to have a flight to Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, we got stuck there for two days until the strikes ceased and we could move on to our final destination. We ended up nixing the one hour flight after it was cancelled for the third time in three days and instead took a 20 hour bus ride.

At the end of the day, we missed out on two days in a town we had been looking forward to visiting because we were stranded in Buenos Aires. But considering we arrived safely, we won't dwell on the memories we could have made.

Enjoying one of three luxurious 20 hour bus rides we took in Argentina.  We imagine it's like flying first class.