Some very unwelcome drama during trek to dinosaur tracks:
To see the tracks close up you have to walk along a dry river, and climb up the side of the valley which is quite steep.
When we got there, the local guide Eusebio offered to climb round another steep cliff face to take a group photo of us.
We declined to give our camera, because we thought he wouldnt know how to use an SLR, and might drop it.
Our new GAP guide Yannick however followed Eusebio round the cliff.
Yannick made half way, and just then the rocks gave way, and he literally fell off the side of the mountain!
It was quite scary and surreal. We couldnt see what was below him, and we were sure he was dead.
Thankfully for him, just below him, the valley narrowed and he probably only fell 10-15m, and some rocks broke his fall, but it could have been much worse.
James, Will and I (Hamel) made our way down to him, and ordered the rest of the group to go back the way we had come and wait on the road.
I did a quick ABCDE check and it looked like he had just broken his left wrist and right arm in a couple of places and possibly his nose, but otherwise generally ok- and ALIVE!
Eusebio sent for an ambulance, while we manoeuvred him down the slope and then he was carried out of the valley on a stretcher when the ambulance crew arrived.
He is now hospital, having had surgery on his arms and traction for a suspected hip fracture (not convinvced about that one!), recovering well.
Sadly he will not continue to lead our tour, but we are grateful he is alive.
New tour leader, Alejandro will take us to the Brazilian border, and then we will get our 4th guide.
Barbara left us in Sucre, we will have 7 new faces joining us from Santa Cruz…
Overnight the President had conceded to give government workers a 20% pay rise, and as it was new years eve, the situation had settled down sufficiently for us to stick to plan A.
The President later did a complete u-turn, and the fuel prices were reduced all the way back down to their original rate- what a wimp!
After 10 hours of travelling by bus and train, we made it to Uyuni 1 hour before midnight, and saw the new year in at the Extreme Fun Pub in the town centre.
Next, 4×4 3 day tour of salt flats
Salt hotel- no longer permitted to be used
Overnight Posada Coral Puerto Chuvica
Laguna de Flamencos
Arbol de Piedra (Tree of Rock)
Overnight Lodge Laguna
Geysers at 5000m alt
Salar de Chalviri- Thermal Hot Springs at sunrise
Laguna Blanca (due to arsenic) and Laguna Verde
Valle de las Rocas (Valley of the Rocks)
Mining Village San Cristobal
Entered Bolivia overland to find the country on the verge of industrial action, protests, and road blocks
Mani hot-footed it back to Peru, but we made it to La Paz before the road blocks without our guide.
Next day, spent 3rd wedding anniversary walking around town.
Witches Market – potions, voodoo dolls, dead frogs and llama foetuses
Black Market – poor quality designer rip-offs,
San Pedro Jail – too afraid to go on illegal inmate tour
and Protests over a recent hike in fuel prices.
We were told the miners from the south had started marching to join the protest armed with dynamite, and that all roads out of La Paz had been blockaded.
With the city on lock down, new guide Yannick briefed us on plans A,B,C,D and E, about how we would break out of La Paz, to continue our tour to the Salt Flats of Uyuni.