Bolivia: Trying to find the good things… Carnaval & Salar de Uyuni

The dust laden streets were alive with the sounds of a band marching and the shuffles of dancing feet. They passed the hostel several times before bursting through opened steel doors. We and our dismantled bikes were greeted with confetti and streamers around our necks and offerings of beer, some for drinking and plenty for showering. They danced for carnival, a celebration strongly rooted in tradition. I was surprised, yet thankful, for their welcoming nature at the present since we (gringos) were invisible all other times.

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We waited until the sun was low in the sky before heading out to the Salar de Uyuni. It had been dry since we arrived, following the dirt tracks out to the famous salt flats was our plan. Deb took lead, ambitiously cutting through a puddle, proving it was much deeper than it appeared. It swallowed her bike, shifting its gravity to much closer to the ground. Blood, from the collision with a broken again windshield, dripped down her nose splashing a much brighter red than the dirty water below. She’s a tough one, shaking off the impact, uprighting the bike and hoping back on track. We were not going to miss the sunset on the solar. We were not going to stick around another night.

The salar was much bigger than I imagined. And more crowded. The stillness of the water reflected the few clouds that hung in the sky. There was a quiet as the sun changed from gold to red to purple. It could have gone on forever, chasing itself, but the magic of the solar was revealed as it slipped below the line of the horizon.

It was mentioned to us the the amount of salt lingering in the air can mess up electronics, so it was only mild surprise when Deb’s bike wouldn’t start. Was it the Solar or was it the fall? It was just a push start away. We watched the sun set and as we got suited up to leave, I tried to start mine and nothing. Barely even a click, then silence. I couldn’t help but laugh. Neither of our bikes wanted to leave, yet the miles in between said it was time. Another push start and we’ll figure it out in the morning. After tearing apart the bike in the courtyard once again, the bolts on the battery had shook loose from the washboard roads the night before. Deb had too much mud in her start button. Still in concern of too much salt on our machines, we headed to the Lavadaro to scrub our motorbikes as well as ourselves down.

Who knew that it would be so futile just miles down the road… But that’s another story…

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8 thoughts on “Bolivia: Trying to find the good things… Carnaval & Salar de Uyuni

  1. Here Here to the “bad ass” summation! I just quit a job after 8 years- I’d been miserable for so long I got used to it, and now I’m taking the riskier chance at what actually makes me happy. I needed a new hero- Thank You for sharing this all- your strength is the inspiration I needed. Love and cheers from another DeLapp cousin!

    • Good for you Brenna! It’s scary to take chances, but when you look at what is the worst that can come out of it (being broke) and weigh it against the best (being happy)… It’s worth a shot. Good luck to you! I really believe we can make a life and money doing the things we love ❤ xo

  2. Saul and I always look forward to your photos and blog! Carnaval with the locals looked fun and festive, and it’s good to hear they made you feel so welcome. The Salar de Uyuni – loosely translated as a salt flat with enclosures – is positively amazing! (We knew nothing about it so we looked it up in Wikipedia.) The pictures of you and your bike getting hosed down made us laugh… Saul wants to know if that’s how you’re showering these days.  Love, Mom xoxoxo

  3. Such beautiful photos and wonderful stories you have Alison! I’m very happy to see you living the dream, doing exactly what you said you wanted.

    Even though it was a New Years Resolution, I hope you never stop getting Lost. 😉

    South! Keep riding South!

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