Sunday in Uyuni
Since Chris still ain't feeling 100%, and since we haven't got too much of an urgent hurry (we have about 7 visa-free days, out of 30, left in Bolivia), we just relaxed and hung out in Uyuni today, and we'll start a salt flats tour tomorrow. Uyuni's actually quite a pleasant place to chill for a day; although "chill" is definitely what you do there, since it's so daym cold!
After a very slow and relaxed outdoor lunch of burger and chips, we took a walk down the train tracks, that lead south to Tupiza and to Villazon. We discovered how towns in Bolivia deal responsibly with their waste management: they don't. The entire fringe of the town is a massive rubbish dump, with litter strewn everywhere as far as the eye can see. Not the most glorious sight I've ever seen. We also watched a massive cargo train coming in to the town's train station: had about 50 carriages, although most of them seemed to be empty. Whatever the trains take, I guess they take it south, because they return back north with absolutely nothing.
Uyuni has quite a nice Sunday market and fair, with all sorts of clothing and general grocery items on sale in little stalls, with food being offered everywhere, and with a few fun things to keep the kids (and the big kids!) busy. We had a go on the shooting range, where you have to shoot down empty milk containers, using a rifle that fires bits of styrofoam. Won a lollipop each, which we gave to some of the kids that were wandering around nearby. Checked out some of the wares on sale in the stalls, as well, but didn't find anything particularly worth buying.
Just before it got dark, we decided to get out my Andean Ludo set, and to have a game of Ludo in the central square. Very close game; and about halfway through the game, a local kid — couldn't have been more than about 8 years old — sat down with us, and started watching us play. Once we finished the first game, we decided to invite him to join us in playing a second one. He caught on to the rules quickly enough (they're pretty easy), and he really enjoyed playing the game. Once we were done, it was quite dark and cold; and he quickly ran off home (probably late for his dinner).
It was pretty much all locals around town today. I don't think many gringos actually stay in Uyuni long enough to see what the town has to offer: they just get in, do a tour, and get out. Fair enough, really, since the town hasn't got much to offer, except for its cold air and its lack of decent heating. But it is actually a very friendly place, with a nice, country feel on Sundays. Funny that it's such a "hotspot" on the gringo trail of Bolivia; and yet outside of the central square, it barely has a tourist feel to it at all.