Salar De Uyuni: It’s About Perspective

Perspective shots that is.

You’ve seen them, drooled over them, dreamt of what you would do if you could have the chance to stand upon the endless white salty expanse.

I mean, I know I did.

When I put my “bucket list” together last year, visiting Salar De Uyuni was at the top of it.  Then, last May I decided to move to Bolivia to spend a year volunteering…

Hello, prefect chance!

Although I knew funds would be low I also knew I had to do all I could to try to get to Salar while I was here.  And, honestly I didn’t have to try very hard.  Literally a chance fell into my lap within my first week in the country.  Who would have thought?

So, 7 days after touching down in South America I booked a three day tour throughout the Salar and the SW corner of Bolivia.

Unfortunately we missed the rainy season by a mere couple weeks. It would have been amazing to see the infinite mirror caused by a thin layer of water settling on the salt, but from the first second we drove onto the flats I was awestruck by the contrast between the unearthly blue sky and the pure white salt.  Rainy season or dry, this place is incredible.

After a 15 minute drive we stopped at an abandoned salt hotel for lunch, where by the way every other tour and their uncle also stopped.  The place was freaking packed, but we managed to find a little spot of salt without french tourists in the background posing on top of Pringles cans, and take our fill of perspective shots.

There was of course the stereotypical dinosaur shots…

And a stomping shot…

Then we got some other ideas…

And later on, as we were waiting for the sunset we decided to take some more, just because we hadn’t taken enough already right?

And then I had to take some non-perspective shots too, just because the place was so darn beautiful…

All in all I was pretty impressed by the first day of our tour.  Aside from a flat tire (this tour involved some serious off-roading, it was bound to happen), we had no problems.

At the end of the day I dreaded leaving the salt flats.  It was like standing upon the white clouds of heaven only to be reintroduced to the brown grime of earth, but there were some pretty awesome sites up ahead…

Stay tuned for part 2!

Photo Of The Week: The Lukla Airport

Each Wednesday I’ll be spotlighting a different photo from my travels around the world.

This weeks photo is from Lukla, Nepal, the starting point for most treks to Everest Base Camp and home to “The Worlds Most Extreme Airport” as deemed by the History Channel due to the ever changing weather conditions as well as the incline of the runway, which on one end is capped by a solid rock wall and on the other by a sheer drop.  I can say, from first hand experience that the pilots who fly into this airport are truly skilled, a fact I am so grateful for.

 

Pike Place Market Seattle

A Stroll Through Pike Place Market

Growing up in Seattle few places captivated me the way Pike Place Market did.  The vibrancy, the colors, the culture.  Pike Place Market is pure northwest and pure Seattle.

Pike Place Market Seattle

Originally opened in 1907, Pike Place is one of the oldest continuously operated farmers markets in the US. Today, among the throngs of tourists hoping to catch a shot of a flying fish or waiting in an obnoxiously long line just to say they grabbed a latte at the original Starbucks, you’ll still find locals, searching for the freshest produce or the most vibrant flowers for their dining room tables.

Pike Place Market Seattle

As you approach the market from Seattle’s colorful waterfront you may pass through Post Alley, a narrow street that winds it’s way around the shops surrounding the market and is also home to the world famous gum wall.  A place where people from near or far can become united by sticking their chewed mound of bubblicious on top of someone else’s chewed mound of extra.  Colorful yet disgusting.

Pike Place Market Seattle

When you walk into the south end of the market you’re immediately overwhelmed by the stench of seafood. Straight ahead is the Pike Place Fish Co. with mounds of every type of fish, crustacean and mollusk imaginable packed into mountains of ice.

And then the fish fight starts.  Someone is having seafood for dinner, men are shouting, and suddenly a 3 foot Salmon flies by so fast it’s impossible to capture a picture.

Pike Place Market Seattle

As you turn to explore the rest of the market the salty stench of the sea soon gives way to the sweet aroma of flowers.  Thousands and thousands of flowers, sold by Hmong flower farmers.  Lily’s, daisy’s, peonies, if you can think of a flower, you can find it here, and for cheap!  Most bouquets can be purchased for $5-$10.

Pike Place Market SeattleBut flowers and seafood aren’t the only products you can find at the market.  As you continue to stroll down the hall you’ll see local artisans and farmers selling everything from cherries to organic honey, silver jewelry and tie dye shirts.  A year-round eclectic assortment that rivals any summer street fair.

Pike Place Market Seattle

Just when you’ve reached the end and are ready to brave the line at Starbucks you see a sign that says “lower floor.” And you think, there’s more?

Why yes.

Pike Place Market Seattle

While the top floor has the traditional farmers market vibe, if you journey to the lower floors you’ll find quaint little shops, life-size cardboard cut outs of the cast of “Doctor Who?” and Chinese noodle kitchens, but my favorite part is the curios a la Ripley’s believe it or Not.  Like the shoe of the “Worlds Tallest Man,” an element that truly transports you back 100 years to the time when the market first began and the national public was enamored with oddities and circus sideshows.

Pike Place Market Seattle

So there you have it.  A little stroll through Pike Place market, one of Seattle’s top attractions and a must on any persons visit to Seattle, tourist or local.

Have you visited Seattle’s Pike Place Market?  What did you think?