Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Part 1: Santa Cruz to Uyuni, Salt flats of Bolivia

So.... Mega post upcoming I'm afraid. Lots to fill you guys in on...

Left our hostel in Santa Cruz at 6pm to arrive at the busiest bus station ever, with no lights working, and nobody having a clue what's going on. After walking around getting hot and flustered, our Spanish language failing us, we eventually booked with Danubio 2 a full cama (bed) bus to Cochabamba for 150 BOB (£15). Once outside the terminal waiting for the bus I ended up getting pissy with Matthew because he had really been stressing me out, just getting angry about bus companies and not being very helpful/ complaining. I told him to be quiet for a minute and he got upset with me. After we'd both calmed down, I felt so so bad because he genuinely looked like he was about to cry because I was annoyed with him. On the bus the next day he even asked me if I regretted travelling with him and didn't want him there, suggesting it had been playing on his mind for a while. This made me feel really guilty - though sometimes I wish I were travelling alone, the benefits of having him have far outweighed the negatives, bless his cotton socks.

The journey was a restless one for myself. I couldn't sleep at all until around 6am. We arrived in Cochabama at 9am to another hectic scene. We both wish we had a little time to explore as the city looked nice, but we didn't. So many long queues. We needed to make it to Oruro by 3:30pm to get the train to Uyuni, and we were already pushing it... Anyway, after queuing for 30 minutes in the slowest moving queue, another company opened at the last second and Matt raced to the desk and managed to get tickets for 9:30am at a slightly more pricey 60 BOB (£6). After getting on the bus we drove trough the mountains and ended up in Oruro at 2pm - plenty of time right?

It was so bizarre, it felt like we were entering a war zone on our journey in. It was all so derelict and deserted on the way. That said, the weird thing about Bolivia is that they leave all their buildings unfinished because you only have to pay tax once it has a roof... So they go to build a second floor but purposefully never complete it.

In Oruro we hopped straight into a taxi to the train station, and got out to hunt for tickets... The sign had been changed and said 2:30pm departure today instead... We sprung into panic mode since it was 2:25pm and we could see the train packed on the platform. We stood at the ticketing office I a daze, unsure if there was a queuing system going on, or people loitering. Again, our language skills left us unable to ask... Thankfully, 4 Spanish students ran to the counter and asked some questions, and we asked for the translation. We were told to hop on the train, but only the lowest class left, and we'd just have to pay a 10 BOB (£1) fine for not getting a ticket in advance. We all sprinted down the platform, found some seats and the train swiftly took off. Talk about timing!

Though it was the lowest class, it wasn't too bad since we didn't have booked seats, we got to sit in the area of he carriage which hadn't yet been reserved, so there was slightly more space... 

There were two Irish guys next to us who I accidentally befriended when I offered them the little amount of water we owned when we all collectively realised we have no food or drink the entire day... This became a vital part of our friendship later on... One of them was totally stunning, the most beautiful blue eyes and perfect accent/ hair/ teeth... Offfft. The other boy, his brother, we later discovered after many beverages (the boys, not me), and xanxes later, is a huge time cocaine dealer in Ireland... He obviously owns the trade since he does none of the running about, just lounges around all day and then travels the world. His 'friends' just wire him the thousands when he wants it. He ran off with gypsies for a year when he was 15 to Italy... And one year for his mums birthday he bought her a pig... Hilarious guy, but very very very weird and later, kind of awkward. He kept going on and on about how when people show him respect (like us offering him our water), he gives as much respect back, and he loves our trust and friendship... Very odd. When he was in Rio he went into favelas and did some drugs with the locals... God he was odd.

Very dreary/ apocalyptic scenes....

With an hour of the trip to go, the train broke down... There was too much sand on the track apparently.... What. The whole place has always been like that. They're incompetent! So, we had to wait 1.5 hours for it to come back, and then took another hour to get there. This meant we didn't get there till 12pm instead of 9:30pm. We wandered straight out of the station and bumped into a hostel practically opposite... It cost us 70 BOB a night, with apparently hot water and heated rooms. Yeah right. We got into the room and it was FREEZING. I had 4 blankets and I was still shivering! It was seriously cold. Eventually, after a sleeping pill and 30 hours of travelling under my belt, I finally fell asleep...

Until.... (Keep tuned for part 2).


  1. dundundaaaa cliffhanger!! haha trust you two to have befriended a dealer lol. Sounds good though, shame you didn't fully digest that spanish vocab book ;) glad you seem to have gotten better Scarlett! keep having fuunnn :) xxxJasmine

  2. I know eh haha. Don't worry Jasmine, part 2 is up now! Read about my vomit! - YAY. Yeah, I really wish we had you and your Spanish here - would have been so helpful in hospital! We had no idea what we were agreeing too... Oops. Thanks Jasmine xxxx