Day 2, more beauty, more mountains, more deserts, more alpacas, fewer trees, fewer and fewer and fewer signs of life. I was actually quite astounded by the complete lack of human touch that stretched on for hours and hours, days in fact.
On this day I had the pleasure of lounging in a natural hot spring at 5000 meters above sea-level. I also was amazed by the deep red color of one of the area’s lagunas. The red color is caused by plankton and attract wild flamingos. Flamingos in the cold feels like a strange juxtaposition for a girl who grew up associating the pink-plumed creatures with the heat and humidity of Florida. I can’t even describe the extremity of the cold at this altitude, combined with the oddness of the bright sun and desert backdrops.
I realize that you can go through the desert in the states and experience total desolation. But in Bolivia desolation takes on new meaning. I realized throughout the day that I was experiencing Bolivia in a very similar way to the first Spanish settlers who came to mine for gold and silver. I was traveling by jeep, which of course would be much faster than my colonial predecessors… but this wilderness has been left untouched for centuries. And I can only hope that centuries from now people will still be visiting this region of Bolivia in their hovercrafts and seeing through their future eyes the same incredible land formations and lack of human touch that I had the privilege to experience.
I was also interested to learn about the incredible masses of natural resources that are native Bolivia. Bolivia is home to Laguna’s of Borax, Potassium, Lithium, and of course salt (I am am sure I am forgetting some others). And the desert hills are filled with gold, silver, copper, zinc, and clay for pottery. I find it curious that for a land so rich in resources, it’s people haven’t fully figured out how to capitalize on it. The country remains in it’s “third world” category, despite the abundant important minerals. Only a handful of families inhabit these hills and with the purpose of mining the minerals. To me, this is both beautiful and sad simultaneously. On one hand, it keeps this incredible barren land in tact. On the other hand, this is a country that has a lot to gain from an increase in industry and greater involvement within the global market.
I know you are all so excited to see day 3, so I will get working on my next post. In the meantime, check out these amazing images from Day 2.