By the way, I uploaded a picture of the old house in Potosí, but it ended up in a place called ´the gallery.´I had no idea I had a gallery! Damn! Fancy! If you can find it, then that´s great. I have no idea where it is.

SO, I took a tour. I felt like such a yuppie tourist! But it´s all good because I would have never survived on my own. We left to Uyuni on the night bus from Potosí to save the 4 dollars we would have spent on a night in a hostal. Stupid frugal us! turns out that it gets to be below freezing in Uyuni during the night. I spent the entire time on the bus colder than I´ve ever been in my life.

Uyuni looks like it´s a town out of an old west movie. It´s got a main road with railroad tracks through the middle, dust in the air, and brick buildings and desert for miles, and that is IT! It exists pretty much for the thousands of tourists that stream through it to see the neighboring salt lake.

The salt lake in Uyuni is the largest in the world. It´s bigger than the Netherlands! It´s so close to the sun and the sun just bounces right off of it, so it´s also really bright. My instincts were telling me that it was ice as we drove over it at high speeds in our jeep. The floor of the Salar is patterned in pentagons and hexagons of salt. It´s really a remarkable place. I wonder what the ancient people thought when they stumbled over here with their horses. They must have thought something crazy created this huge, white world of salt.

We woke up at 4:30 every morning to fit in our jam-packed tourist schedule! We got to see a lot. The landscape here is striking. The desert is paradoxically full of coral and volcanic rock. It is the strange shapes in this desert that inspired some of Dalí´s paintings (according to our guide, I don´t know if this is true). It is like another planet. The most abundant plant here is a giant bubble of moss-like plant that takes thousands of years to grow. The green of this plant is so alive that it looks out of place in this driest of deserts.

There are hundreds of lagoons that are different colors- turquoise, dark green, pink, red- covered by dusty desert mountains on all sides, and full of hot pink flamingos. The whole place is a trip. The landscape makes no sense!

My favorite place of all was the city of rock, which is a 20 km long stretch of volcanic rock that has been carved in to odd shapes by thousands of years of rain. Inside the vast stretch of rock are pockets of green oasis paridises where the animals aren´t scared of humans and the water is pure and blue.

Immediately after returning from Uyuni, I left for Ascensión de Guarayos (where I currently write). Yesterday morning at dawn I witnessed a really scary robbery! Two young men smashed the windshield of a car and put all of a family´s belongings inside. The family ran outside and tried to block the car with their bodies, but the two guys almost ran over the mom! I couldn´t believe how terrifying it was to see this go down right in front of me, to hear the screams of the mother who was trying to fight back for a portion of their livelihood.

Yesterday I also got food poisoning from the mystery meat that I ate on the road! For the entire 14 hour bus ride it felt like switch blades were having a drunken party around my whole body. I started hallucinating that a hat I had bought had a curse attached to it that was bringing me pain. I hope that it was only a hallucination!

Alright- today I leave for the middle of the jungle. I won´t have contact with any electricity for the next three weeks or so, so I don´t think I´ll be able to keep in touch! Send me all of your good thoughts until then!

All my lovin´

caroline

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