Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This is a blog about my sight seeing trip to Oruro and Uyuni, two areas in sounthern Bolivia. I went with 14 people from my language school including two of my teachers. This blog is mostly pictures with a little narrative. Picture descriptions will be beneath the photo.

This is a shot of the town of Oruro. We left Cochabamba early on a Wedesday morning and traveled 4 hours in a bus to arrive in Oruro. We had some time before our train left for Uyuni so we saw some of the sights in Oruro.

This mural depicts the story behind the National holiday of Carneval which has its roots in Oruro. It has to do with lizards and frogs and snakes coming upon the city (miners mostly at the time).

A woman, The Virgin, came to the rescue and delivered the city from the plagues.

This is a giant slide outside a church we visited. Yes I went down the concrete slide and I have the bruise on my tailbone to prove it!

Inside the church there is this mural the depicts hell, the world, and heaven.

Close up of a demon

Close up of the world

Below the church is an old mining cave. People there believe that hell is underground and have made statues of what they call "tio" a name for the devil (though literally it means "uncle"). People bring coca leaves, cigarettes, and other things to these idols to appease them.

This is another "tio"

Finally we boarded our train to Uyuni to begin out 3 day tour there.

We rode for 8 hours and arrived in Uyuni at 3AM

This is the group that I traveled around southern Bolivia with. The SUV was provided by our tour agency and is a must for most of the travel is off road (there are no roads!). Our driver was very cool, played english music for us, and often refered to us girls as "mis chicas (his girls)" or as his "beautifuls"

Our first stop was to the train graveyard in Uyuni. I actually red the graffiti after I had this picture taken. Feliz Viage para Todos, rougly translates to our phrase, Happy Trails to everyone.

This one says, This is the life. Underneath someone wrote "no"

This one made me laugh too. It says "an experienced mechanic needed" below and not in the picture it said "ugently"

This is the group of 15 of us. I still can't believe I climbed up on top of that thing!

We stopped at a place where there are a lot of natural rock formations. I could have spent hours there but we didn't have time as this was near the end of the trip and we had sick people we needed to get back into the city. Can you see the face in this picture?

Can you see the eagle?

Can you see the baboon face?

This is a sunset over the moutains

This is a volcano that is on the border of Bolivia and Chile. The chile side is active.

In the middle of the salt flats (pictures coming up next) are a few islands. There are a lot of cactuses there and we spent several hours climbing around and eating and resting on the island.

This is a view from the top of the island looking out over the salt flats.

Hug a tree, though at this altitude there aren't any trees, its way too high. So I hugged a cactus instead, ouch.

Watching the sunset from the island.I'm sitting on the salt flats

This is from earlier that day when we had a tour of how the process the salt to make it edible. This is a mountain waiting to be taken to the small town to be processed. Looks like snow huh?

The salt flats of Uyuni cover over 4,000 sq miles and goes down 5 meters. When your standing there it seems like it never ends. It just keeps going and going in all directions. It also contians 80 percent of the worlds lithium reserves. It is mostly untouched.

We stayed at a motel made compeltly of salt. The floors, chairs, tables were all made out of salt.

The walls too

And even the bed frames and end tables. The doors were made out of cactus wood.

This is a close up of a gyser.

The gysers from farther away.

This area is semi volcanic. The dirt/clay is liquid and is boiling with steam coming up from it constantly. I literally felt like I was on the moon of something, it was so other worldly. It smelled like rotten eggs though.

This is our time of swiming in the hotsprings. That was a nice treat!

A little piece of heaven.

Me and some new friends just chillin while we observed the afore mentioned volcano.

This is the red lake. Its red because of the mineral that it contains. When the wind is blowing stongly as you can tell by my hair in this picture, the lake water is bright red. The white part of not water.

More of the red lake, it was one of the coolest parts of the trip for me.

This is the green lake. Also contains a mineral causing it to turn green.

This is the stinky lake. So called because it contains sulfur. It stinks! But the flamingos like it. 3 different varieties of flamingo live in this area.

This is the sign for the lake, roughly translated, The Stinky Lake

This is how you fill your gas tank when you are out in the middle of nowhere.

Most of our meals were on the road and provided for us by our tour guide agency. Considering the available resources, the food was really good!
Our cook and her stove.

There were signs that made me laugh along the way. This is roughly translated says " only the wind runs here, all other must drive 5Kmh"

this is one just says "No peeing"

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Back in Bolivia

I have been back in Bolivia for 2 weeks now and it feels as though I never left. There is evidence of my absence in that my kids all got older and have learned new things. Not to mention that there are two new kids that joined us while I was away. I have been taking pictures like crazy so here are some of the best.

This is most of our kids, missing 4 though. This is not an easy picture to take thats for sure!

This little princess is our newest addition to our daycare. She is still adjusting, meaning, she cries A LOT. Once she gets through this period I think she will be just fine.

Manolo here is our newest resident and he is quite the bundle of energy. And ever so cute!

Lily is growing by leaps and bounds and crawls around like crazy. She loves to practice standing up, her legs are already very strong.
Baby G is not letting a little something like open heart surgery slow him down! This marks 4 months since his operation. And he is now walking rather then crawling and learning new words.
Here are some pics of my kids just being darn cute. The sibs have all the toys they can possibly play with, but what do they do? They play with the plastic buckets that hold the toys of course!
Our kids are getting much better at the concept of sharing toys. I'm told they even have a system of "trade" where one child will give another child a different toy in exchange for the one he had been playing with. They still have a long way to go though, I still am breaking up fights several times a day.
Marcos here is proudly showing off his newly repaired teeth. His front teeth were completely rotted through. He used to rarely smile but now he can't get enough of smiling for the camera!

Baby Mateo as grown the most in the time I was gone. He is our premature baby and he weighed only 5 pounds or so when I left. I'm not sure his exact weight now but you should see his chubby little body, his double chin, and fat little cheeks! He is also much more alert and makes good eye contact.

In a very short time we will be recieving yet another new born baby, actually possibly two. I will post pictures just as soon as they arrive!