7th October 2015 by emmadurnford

7th October 2015

A good nights sleep on the volcanic rock bed and we were up for another early start. After a wander around the deserted old town - abandoned after Chile invaded Bolivia in the 1970’s (and set fire to the houses killing many residents) and also I nipped off to see a pen of llamas - we were off.

The journeys are getting tougher now for all of us as there have been no paved or tarmaced roads since Uyuni. A lot of the ‘roads’ are actually mountain tracks filled with boulders so thank goodness Francisco is a good driver and we have a vehicle suitable for tackling them - at one point we even had to get out of the car so that it could be driven up and over high railway tracks after we had built a little bridge out of flat rocks.

Our first stop was to look at a steaming volcano which crosses the border of Bolivia and Chile - the smoldering bit is on the Chilean side. My favorite part of the day though was a visit to two different lakes on which there were literally hundreds of James Flamingos all feeding on presumably brine shrimps. We were able to get up quite close and this is todays image as I like the reflections in the water. They did not actually fly off but I think they were just having a bit of an ‘argy-bargy’ with each other. As you can imagine I took quite a few shots of them, they really are the most unusual looking bird.

We stopped for a late lunch at Francisco’s house which was nice for him as he has not seen his family for a number of days. He has two sons, his 8-year old was at school but we met his wife and 3 year old son who is so cute and like virtually any other child in any country is a dab hand at the electronic games on his dad’s phone. Francisco’s wife had cooked us rice, chicken, chips with sliced tomatoes and even home made soup. To be honest we were not actually that hungry but she had gone to so much trouble and as lunch is the main meal in Bolivia, it would have been rude to refuse. It was interesting to see inside a home rather than a hotel for once. There were only two rooms but they were made very homely. Water comes from an outside tap and there is a separate bathroom outside. I think it must be very bleak in the village in the winter/rainy season though.

Onwards towards our last hotel of our trip across Bolivia and our last one-nighter (I think and hope!). Throughout our travels in Bolivia I have been looking out for a particular bird the Darwin’s Rhea. It looks rather like an ostrich, although a little smaller and is very rare. Well, thinking about nothing in particular other than how stunning the views were. I spotted one walking in the distance - we skidded to a halt on the sandy track and I jumped out of the car, only to trip on the sand but not to be deterred I managed a few grab shots from quite a distance. Feeling really pleased we drove on only for our guide to spot another 5 of them on the other side of the road. They are very shy and my attempts to creep up on them in a bright blue jacket were not very subtle. Still, the running shots of them are interesting as well!

So, now we are in our final Bolivian hotel - tonight we are in a cave!! Our hotel is built into the rock face and instead of a wall behind us as we sleep there is a curved stone cave wall. It is only 10.15 but we are shattered and as we have a 5.00am alarm tomorrow I’m off to bed (well already in it typing but you know what I mean).
October 10th, 2015  
@neatz Thank you - it was not so difficult as there were hundreds of them. They look so much better in the wild than when I saw them at Slimbridge many years ago!
October 10th, 2015  
They look as though they're dancing - Fav
October 10th, 2015  
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