As I was waiting for the bus in the station in Potosí, I spotted another lady who seemed to be travelling alone, obviously not a Bolivian. When in the bus, her seat was next to mine, so we started chatting. Jimena was from Buenos Aires and indeed a solo traveler . We soon found out that we had a lot in common: both PR ladies, interested in arts and foreign languages lovers, as she spoke perfect French. And having a hard time finding out how good love relationships actually work. We chatted for the greatest part of the ride to Tupiza and, once again, I was amazed about how easily you can connect with people you’ve just met. When we arrived, we both needed to find a hotel and agreed that it would be nicer to have a room of our own rather than sleep in a dormitory. Being two, the price difference between both options wasn’t that big. How often does it happen in our everyday life that we first meet a person in a bus and share a room with her the very same day? How come there’s a level of trust that we have when traveling and mostly fail to have when we’re in our home country? Maybe we’re too busy with our daily problems and just forget to connect with others? With Jimena, it just “clicked”. And after the psychologically difficult week I had behind me – as a reminder: feeling depressed, getting my camera stolen, falling from a bike on the Death Road and observing the tough work of miners – finding an interesting and cheerful companion was just what I needed.
We got rid of our heavy backpacks in the room and freshened up, after which I made the reservation for the tour to the salt flats of Uyuni. The hotel was organizing one itself and Jimena told me someone had recommended them to her. Or she read about them somewhere on the web. Either way, I didn’t feel like going to all the agencies of Tupiza to make a benchmark, so I just booked that one. Jimena had done that excursion already, so we would already say goodbye to each other on the following day. But, in the meantime, we went for a walk in the city, which was a calm and chilly place, took time for a coffee and, in the evening, had one of the few dishes there are on the menu of restaurants for tourists like us: pizza.
On November 26th, after 6 months and a half in South America, I was leaving for the one thing I had on my “MUST do” list when arriving on the continent: the salt flats of Uyuni. I had heard about them for the first time a few months before my departure, when I hosted Alex, a Mexican-American guy, who had been exploring North, Central and South America with his motorbike. Maybe you have seen one of his video’s on Youtube. You know, these people who travel around and love nothing better than to make you jealous with awesome footage. Alex does that a lot better than I do. He’s actually quite an expert in this category:
After having heard him talk about the place, I decided that if there was just one thing I had to see in South America, that would be it. As it happens, it was the last big excursion that I did. 4 days and 3 nights. I couldn’t wait to discover it all. And I wouldn’t be disappointed.