Day Three - home again home again

At about 3 a.m., when I still couldn't sleep, I stole outside to take a short walk. The stars were so stunning, that I mostly just stood and stared.

We were awoken (those of us who were asleep) at 4 a.m., and bundled into the jeep. I counted 11 other jeeps on the road - their headlights looked like a string of Christmas lights in the still darkness.

We made it to the geysers at about 5:30 a.m. There was one that was a jet of steam coming out, and there were a bunch that were bubbling mud baths. It was like something out of a prehistoric movie set. The smell was horrible - not just sulfur, but other more noxious gasses. We stayed for a while, but everyone started to feel a little sick from the fumes.

We got to the hot sping about 45 minutes later, but the early morning, lack of breakfast and noxious smells and windey roads had taken their toll on Iain and he had been throwing up. We went in the lovely hot water and relaxed for a while and then had our breakfast. Iain threw up all his and then threw up again. We decided to head straight back for Uyuni innstead of going further before the long drive back. We would miss the green lake and a volcano and we have seen many coloured lakes and lots of volcanos. The drive back to Uyuni would be all day as it was.

We stopped along the way at the tricoloured lake, and at some other lovely sites. Our final stop was at the train graveyard just outside Uyuni. It was pretty cool, and the boys had a great time having obstical courses climbing down and across and over the abandoned trains.

We got back into Uyuni and had supper in a little pizza restaurant (there are many pizza places in Uyuni - it is very popular - and pretty good).

Finally it was nearly 8 p.m., time to board the bus for La Paz, for our 12 hour night time ride over washboard dirt roads. We had the 4 seats at the front of the upper level of the bus, and one window seat behind. Iain had been throwing up all day and Hilary wasn't feeling so well either, so they took gravol. I put my pack on the seat behind the others, and got selttled. Hilary and the kids needed help getting their packs straight, and while I took 15 seconds to help, someone whisked my backpack out from under my seat and made off with it literally behind my back. Hilary had a clear view of my seat and my pack and swa nothing - the guy was too professional. I tried to look for the perp, but it was no use. All the buses leave and arrive at the same time and there must have been 400 people crowded around in the tiny streets - most with backpacks. It was night and there was no good lighting. The culprit knew what he was doing and I'm sure had disappeared into a slimy little hole by that point. Luckily my passports and money and photos were safe, as well as the kids and myself.

It was a long bumpy road back to La Paz and having such an incident just before leaving didn't improve the ride. I didn't sleep much. The ride wasn't as bad as the ride down to Uyuni though. By the time we reached La Paz, I had made peace with the thief - knowing that mostly what he got was kids clothing which would be worn by some kids in Uyuni who were not at fault, and who could probably use them. I would be able to replace most of the stuff in La Paz - where things are very cheap.