Posts Tagged ‘Colcha K’


I hadn’t thought to even try, but, there they were, only 50 metres away from us and their jeep, taking the naked on the Salar pic. So, I picked up the nerve and did the same.

The standard Salar photo op

The standard Salar photo op

I was there because of Federico and his group of Spanish tourists. Yesterday’s wind and mushy salt (and rumbly stomach) had left me dejected. Was I going to cross the Salar, and how? He offered me a spot in their jeep, and a way off the other side. I had a lovely time with my new friends. We left before dawn and saw the sunrise on Isla Incahuasi in the middle of the Salar.

Isla Incahuasi

Isla Incahuasi

Isla Incahuasi

Isla Incahuasi

We even played around with the drone a bit.

I was dropped off in Salinas – a town on the other side. Normally it’s a pretty sleepy place, but with Uyuni blocked, all the tourists were here looking for buses. I eventually got a minibus to take me away from obscurity and back to the main road with things like cake. And internet.

Salinas

Salinas


With the winds blowing with all their howling might into my face, and discovering the surface of the Salar is like a churned up sandpit, I returned to whence I had come.

Bike on the Salar

Bike on the Salar

I tried to cycle north to the island in the middle of the dry salt lake but gave up after thinking I couldn’t make it through all this slushy salt by sunset. I tried cycling east to Uyuni but worse slushy conditions prevailed in that direction. Anyway, there’s a massive general strike in Uyuni and I couldn’t catch a bus from there to La Paz anyway as I had originally planned.

Back I went to Colcha K. Passing jeeps suggested I go to a hotel I didn’t realise was open (it’s under construction) in Colcha K and ask if anyone is going north to a place called Salinas.

Part of the way back I caught a bus that was passing.

I didn't feel like cycling

I didn’t feel like cycling

Getting all the details right in Spanish is difficult.

I found a lovely group of Spanish tourists that let me go with them tomorrow to the island in the middle of the lake. I can try to get another lift there. Apparently the salt is as soft leaving the salar as it is entering it, so I really should try to get a lift from the island if I can.

The lovely group of Spanish tourists

The lovely group of Spanish tourists

The salar was meant to be the highlight of the trip, but after all this eternal headwind since entering Bolivia, bad roads, word of strikes that would stuff my plans up, and now my short experience on the salar, I’m really over cycling just for the moment. I just want to talk to my boyfriend and father and relax a bit. No more headwinds or soft sand or salt.

Day 16. 0km. Colcha K

Posted: September 19, 2019 in Bolivia, Cycling
Tags: , ,

There was a pounding on my door.

‘Is the second bed in your room free?’

I had been pulled from my deep sleep. It was the early hours of the morning.

‘It’s occupied,’ came a voice from afar – the owner of the hostel.

Thank God for that!

Today, outside, was Carnival with people dressed in extravagant outfits and the brass bands roaming the streets playing drunkenly out of key. Inside, I was recovering, in a half sleep or listening to my audio book on full volume to hear it above the brass band.

I don’t have any photos from outside. I wasn’t in the mood. I just wanted to stay rugged up and warm to get rid of this gastric problem.


All I could think of was a bed to sleep in immediately as I crawled the last kilometres to Colcha K. My body needed a rest and it was going to take one for it.

On the way to Colcha K

On the way to Colcha K

Neither Jason (the other cyclist) or I slept well. For the first time I wasn’t hungry at breakfast and had to force some calories down. Cycling along the easy road with no wind, I just felt flat. The aim was to power on today to the edge of the Salar and across to the island in tbe middle. Jason didn’t see it happening and wanted to go to Uyuni first. At the turn off to the Salar we split up. He headed directly towards Uyuni planning to stop early at a big town for a rest. I headed towards Colcha K and the Salar, planning to stop early too and start much closer to the Salar tomorrow.

Jason and I

Jason and I

It was 15km to Colcha K from the turnoff on a good road surface. The road for the last 5km wasn’t as good, but still should have been very easy in the grand scheme of things.

All I could think of was a bed. The town was uphill a bit and the hotels that were meant to exist were always just a bit further. One hotel I couldn’t find, another was full. A young boy took me to a hidden guesthouse and the owner welcomed me in for the grand sum of $5.

I put the bike in the room and went straight to sleep (at noon), and I still really haven’t left the bed and it’s 5pm.

Sleep

Sleep

This is how I feel after a long time at altitude. I was thinking I was going to be immune this time. In India, I just stopped for a day’s rest before Lachuna La, drinking lots of rehydration salts. In Tajikistan I felt like this at Karakol too. My body spoke and I listened. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.