What we are to see today:
Salar de Uyuni, Isla Pescado, Museo de Sal, Cementerio de Trenes, Uyuni
See the pics. We greatly enjoyed the tour, our driver (Pedro), and accomodations/food provided by Pamela Tours. Would highly recommend them to others contemplating this journey into the desert!
Once we arrived in Uyuni, a dusty but quite nice desert town...here because of mining and salt, the RR comes here for this purpose having been built by US and later English investors to suck out the silver and other minerals in mines within 100 km of here. The train cemetery is quite impressive for the poor quality of machines shipped in from US and England. The US train lasted 10 yrs. the English one which burned coal which had to be imported from Chile, lasted 15 yrs.
When we began researching transport out of here we found that many other travelers had intended to go to Potosi but due to a blockade in Potosi, no buses were going there. The only alternatives were to go directly to La Paz which most if not all were doing or head S. to Tupiza (Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid territory...they died in San Vicente just a few km from Tupiza). We got tickets for Tupiza heading out w/ the only bus leaving at a reasonable time in the a.m.
This town also is full of tourists heading to/from San Pedro via the same 4WD track we took to get here! I think the local economy is changing rapidly to support the tourist trade and mining/salt income will/is fast becoming a secondary source of income.
Our Hotel/Hostel was right next to the immigration office where we forked over our $135 US due to Bush and reciprocity (no others pay for visas and prior to Bush raising US visa fees, we did not have to either!).