Yesterday was Thanksgiving and we feasted on pizza. One of them even had turkey and cranberry topping. We shared the evening with Ritva, a backpacker from Finland. The hours flew by as we shared stories of adventure until the restaurant closed. It was wonderful to have the extra company as we celebrated a holiday away from home. Ritva, it was a pleasure meeting you, buen viaje a Chile!
We weren’t very good at taking photos while in Uyuni. Not that there’s much to photo. All we managed to capture was our pizza from Minuteman Pizza. It was really good pizza, something we did not expect to find in Bolivia. It probably helps that the owner, Chris, is from Boston. They also have an all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast, which we housed. In fact, we were so excited that we woke up early and arrived before they opened, our mouths watering for sweet pancakes, fried eggs, hash browns, bagels and granola.
Yesterday we were also busy preparing for the next leg of our trip, heading south to the border with Chile, via the Lagunas Route through the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve. We’re carrying about 9 days worth of food. We’re unsure how long it will take to traverse this remote route and there are few and unreliable places to restock¹. It took hours to amass all we needed. Shopping is a different experience when there are no supermarkets. We have to visit multiple shops to find all we need. Luckily it was market day so it was a little easier to find everything, but we made purchases from more than 10 vendors before we were done.
The bikes are heavy again. We’ll be eating a lot of oatmeal, rice, ramen noodles, tuna and crackers. We’ve heard there’s not much in the way of fruits and veggies heading south so we also stocked up on produce that travels well, like potatoes, onions, carrots and apples. The softer produce (like plums, bananas, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli) we’ll need to eat first, otherwise they’ll turn into a rotting mush in short time on the bumpy dirt roads.
It was good to be off the salar and out of the sun for a day. Our bikes weren’t the only ones covered in salt. We arrived crispy and crusty, complete with salt crystals on our eyelashes and a line of salt leading out from the corners of our eyes like some kind of new age makeup. The salars completely dried out our skin. Our hands were cracked and stinging, like they’re covered with tiny paper-cuts. Despite SPF Chapstick, my lips were blistered. The ends of our noses were red and chapped. My scalp had burned and was sloughing off in chunks, in the world’s worse case of dandruff. In short, we were a hot mess.
¹ In actuality, it took us 7 days to cycle from Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacama.