We are pointed towards a bus where Peruvians are piling. We find a seat at the back. The seats are uncomfortable and straight as planks. We sit dead straight through the 6 hour journey. Everything is humid from old body sweat. We snooze slightly, always sitting erect, our heads falling to one side. When the bus slows on the highway, women and children stick to the windows shouting prices for goods to sell. All sorts of items are passed around: oranges and cabbages and rice and clothing. A woman asks the driver to stop and helps a boy wee on the side of the road so he doesn’t wet his shoes. We are on our way to Uyuni, but somehow this is the wrong bus.

She quickly gesticulates for us to follow and we do, because we are tired and too trusting.

We look at the bus emptying. Everyone gets out and we are confused. Our bags are thrown on the pavement next to a rotting building that we suppose is the bus station. This isn’t Uyuni.

The driver speaks in quick Spanish to a woman with brownish hair and silver earrings. She wears brown linen trousers, a poncho lined with reds and blues and manly sandals. She quickly gesticulates for us to follow and we do, because we are tired and too trusting. She hushes us into a taxi after having negotiated a satisfactory price in a few rapid words. The driver is handed money, we are waved away.

Now only am I taking the time to wonder how we didn’t ask any questions.

We sleep. We wake up as tired as the day before. Mosquitoes are using our bodies as dartboards.

The taxi drives us to a second bus. This one is as packed as the first. The road is bumpy. We repeat a similar bus ride as the first; erect sitting, old smells, hunger and sweat. After hours, we are dropped off in a town where everything is shut apart from one empty restaurant. We notice the 24h Internet shop is also shut. At a time where IPods don’t exist, it is not possible to warn anyone of our interesting arrival.

We eat in silence, too exhausted to question this day, and then find a hotel room. It is cold. There is no hot water. We sleep. We wake up as tired as the day before. Mosquitoes are using our bodies as dartboards.

Welcome to Uyuni, ghost town, departure location for the Salar de Uyuni, the trip we spoke of but never did, our failed mission.

             

The Writer

I write stuff for fun, if it was for a living I would be homeless.

Find out more about me, Stefanie, here.

Quotes

A tourist is a fellow who drives thousands of miles so he can be photographed standing in front of his car. Emile Ganest