11-Jan-2009 -- This is the fifth confluence that we tried to visit during our trip to Peru, Bolivia and Chile (see map). The story starts from 12°S 77°W.
Several times during this trip I had made investigations to attempt some unvisited confluence points. I tried hard to organize transport, but at the end I didn’t even start because there was no transportation available.
For this attempt we got at least started, even if we didn’t get very far. The confluence is located east of the great Uyuni salt flat – just 10 km from its shore. The area around it comprises of a couple smaller dry saltlakes and consists mostly of desert.
We stayed in the town Uyuni, a start-off place for most tours on the salt flat. The beeline distance was 55 km and I hoped to get within 10 km by road. It was an early Sunday morning and not many vehicles were leaving Uyuni towards the north. After waiting for half an hour, we found seats in a shared taxi that took us to a tiny place called Colchani. Due to its location at the edge of the salt flat several houses are made entirely from salt-bricks here. In the village is a traffic control post. Here we waited for traffic in order to hitchhike further north. We waited and waited, but not a single car left for the next place called Chita. The road consists only of a sandy track; most cars find their own way through the desert themselves. But Chita consists of only a couple houses and there is no reason for traffic heading this way. There is a long-distance bus to Oruro, but unfortunately not leaving in the morning. In Colchani I tried to organize bicycles in order to ride the last 20 km myself, but no one was interested to rent his bicycle to a strange foreigner with a mysterious destination. After waiting almost 2 hours, we gave up and joined one of these many Jeeps who go touring westwards on the Uyuni salt flat.
When we came back to Colchani from the tour, the man working at traffic control post had organized transportation to Chita for us. But now, considering the time of the day, we had to refuse to enter the car that was waiting. For us it was unclear, how we could come back to Uyuni that day.
Story continues at 21°S 68°W.