Bolivia (December 1997 - January 1998)

Note: during my round-the-world trip I did not have a single lense reflex camera yet.
I only had a very simple point-and-shoot camera without zoom options.

The route

Salar de Uyuni, a huge salt pan of about 100 by 100 kilometers

It was a Sunday, but normally people work here, scraping salt together in order to be sold

And then suddenly in the middle of the big endless white Salar de Uyuni, is this 'island' full of cactuses that reach about 5 meters into the sky
(Isla de Pescadores)

Absolutely amazing... after all these miles of flat white, snow-like landscape...
these cactuses could not look more out of place.

The guide / driver is taking a rest

Another surprise: lots of flamingos in the middle of this arid desert. What do they eat!? Well, apparently they feed on
Which of course turned into the joke of the day. " What will we have for dinner?" " Well, micro-organisms of course".

The mountains have colours that range from purple to red.

Our guide called Felimo (from Tonito Tours in Uyuni).
At this guesthouse there was no running water, only a well.

Laguna Colorada, coloured red by... yes: micro-organisms! Size comparison: the yellow bushes in the foreground are knee-high.
This lake is at about +4500 meters.

Three ladies who were our hosts at one of the guesthouses.

Laguna Verde at about +4900 meters. In the background you see the
Ollague volcano on the border of Chile and Bolivia, which we knew very well by then!
We'd been able to stare at it for 11 hours on end during our delay on the train from
Chile to Bolivia (see the very last Chile photo).

And there are actually people living in the middle of all this dryness and desertedness.

A hot spring. Ouside air: around freezing. Water: +40°C. These are two of the fun Irish people we shared the tour with.

Salvador Dali was inspired by rocks like these during his trips to Bolivia.

Eagle Rock

Seller of coca leaves. When chewed on together with a special stone,
these leaves will numb the senses. Pain, hunger, cold are all less poignant.

Therefore these leaves are popular amongst the miners in Potosi, who work under
terrible medieval conditions for very little money, and often die before they're 40
because of health problems or mining accidents.

Inside the mines of Potosi... very impressive and depressing to see the conditions the miners have to work in.
This here is a statuette of Jesus where the miners pray before they go in. Down from here is called Hell.

Probably a miner.

At a bus station

Floods in La Paz.
Vegetables from higher-up markets are swept down.

A typical shower in Bolivia, with local electric heating unit, which sometimes sparks and fumes! Scary stuff...

Here we volunteered for a day during Christmas. We had seen an ad in the paper.
Comedor Popular "San Calixto", La Paz, an eating house for the poor.
We peeled about 600 potatoes with our fingernails and helped serve the soup and food to the poor.
Some of them did not even have a cup, only a plastic bag.

Responsible for the entire stand

The cemetry in La Paz.

Sorata, near La Paz



A wonderful evening with two Dutch girls, a guitar and good pizza. Copacabana, by Lake Titicaca (Bolivian side).

It was even less spectacular than it looks. The wind passed right through the wheatbags that made up the sail,
and the boat was a square fisherman's boat with no build for speed. Fun nonetheless!

Isla del Sol, where the sun was born according to the Incas.
In the Bolivian half of Lake Titicaca.

Isla del Sol

Isla del Sol

Indonesia    —    Australia    —    Chile    —    Bolivia    —    Peru