You know the drill by now. Up when it’s still dark, no shower, still wearing the same clothes we’ve had on for the past three days. Although light hasn’t found it’s way over the hills, I’m hiding my eyes with sunglasses due to the obvious bleariness of them, stoatering around like a blind man in search of coca tea. I long to just crumble into the back of a jeep and pass out under a stolen blanket.
Once more we’re crossing vast spaces in high wind chill temperatures, with every photo stop cut disappointingly short due to the wintry gales whipping through your several layers. It hurts to hold the camera steady to snap pictures of colourful lagoons dotted with flamingos, dramatic volcanoes and lonely, long since deserted outposts. Lonely is the perfect description for the voluminous expanse that stretches around a 360 degree horizon. Lonely and cold. Much like the attitude women have to me. As much as we’re cruising along at a decent pace, the end never seems to be in sight. It is difficult to comprehend the size of the planet when you see just how enormous this rocky desert is. Astounding.
Along the route we’re also treated to sulpher geysers spewing from the earth and the ‘tree rock’ which is part of a large geological site made up of volcanic deposits. To be honest I have no idea if I saw these today or not. They could have been yesterday, they could have been tomorrow. Basically for three days it was all very similar. Stunning, but similar, and my mind has been warped and confused by both the intense cold, and the fact that I’m writing this a week later.
As the sun is once again sinking below the mountains which it tends to do these days, we have arrived at our final trek hostel, and it has something of an unusual look and feel to it. That’s probably because it’s made out of salt. At least it appears to be, including salt bricks, tables and chairs, along with corridors paved with loose granules that crunch underfoot. Paddy decides to test it out, and sticks his tongue to one of the walls. It is indeed salty. Well done Paddy.
We’re finally treated to a hot shower, and following an evening meal, we once again get stuck into some social boozing. The small town that borders the Salar De Uyuni appears to consist only of tourist hotels, and as this one is proving pretty popular, we’re joined by a number of other trekkers from various companies, and included in this new group, is a nice Irish girl I’ve taken a shine to. In spite of not really talking the whole trip, she makes a bee line for me at the pool table (not made of salt) and opens up a music conversation, which I’m all too happy to oblige her with. An unprecedented feeling washes over me, as I’m actually discovering she might be interested, and I don’t have to do any of the usual vehement spadework for hours on end just to get a rejection. Soon the guitar is out, and I’m doing my best to consolidate her affections.
That is until I lose her to this tall, dark, strikingly good look German guy, who she introduces, and then promptly sits down next to, for the pair of them to pay no notice of me at all, including through the songs she’s requested. Coincidentally enough; Talk Tonight and Good Riddance, both requested, dear reader, if you may remember, by the attractive Irish girl back in Medellin Colombia; who then preceded to pay no heed to me at all. Then there was a tall German who stole my only interest away back in Bocas Del Torro. In conclusion, and consequently, in future, should either an Irish girl request these songs, or a tall German guy turn up to the party, I shall tell them to fuck off.
I retire to bed in a huff, leaving the two of them canoodling in the dark, as the electricity has been turned off at 11. Thankfully it’s far too cold to take your clothes off, so I’m grinning to myself as I curl up in bed, mocking the no chance they have of doing anything naked. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. ha, ha, ha…ha. Ha. Ha. He. He. Ha. I have the last laugh. It’s the small victories that count.