Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

By br1 May 28th, 2011, under photo, travel

I was lucky to arrive in Bolivia one week before there was a Psytrance Party in Uyuni, right on the border of the salt-flats. I have actually thought about what a great place this would be for a party before, so I was very happy to be right in time! It was a great party, maybe 100 people, the most amazing landscape – very abstract, and crystal clear – and I have never been so cold while actually enjoying myself. I didn’t bring my camera there, but my friend “Amwo” has some pictures in his blog.

The “Salar de Uyuni” is the worlds largest salt-flat with 12.000 square kilometers at an altitude of 3800m. In the dry season it is a completely flat expanse of dry salt, but in the wet season it is covered 1cm to 1m deep with water. At this time of year it is usually already dry, but there was still a lot of water. So the reflections in the pictures are reflections in the water. Most the white is salt, not snow – but it is also very cold because of the altitude – so you can have mixtures of ice, snow, salt and other minerals. I took a 3-day jeep tour thru the Salar and some other sights further south: high-altitude deserts and lakes, volcanos, the red Laguna Colorada, geysiers, hot-springs and -again- flamingos who live in these freezing temperatures. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I do…

Street Life in La Paz and other cities, Bolivia

By br1 May 25th, 2011, under photo, travel

Contrary to most other capital cities, I liked La Paz. It is located in a valley and spans an altitude difference of 1000m and there is so much going on in the streets, including lots of witchcraft. Bolivian people are interesting characters to take photos of. This gallery contains pictures of street life in La Paz and other cities in Bolivia.

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Lake Titikaka, Peru

By br1 May 25th, 2011, under photo, travel

I decided to do some “non-linear travelling” as I wanted to see the salt-flats of Uyuni in Bolivia before it got too cold. Yes, it’s insane; yes, it’s far – but I wanted to do it. So I spent the next 5 days in busses, crossing about 2000km of Peru and arrived on Lake Titikaka, already close to Bolivia. Because Lake Titikaka is at an altitude of 3800m and I ascended too fast from Lima, I had pretty strong symptoms of altitude sickness – had I only listened to my body and stayed in Arequipa, where the volcano looks like Mt. Fuji, but no I wanted to move on. Lake Titikaka itself is pretty, but very touristic…

…actually in all those years of travelling, I have never been in such a tourist trap as on Lake Titikaka before: I just wanted to book a boat-ticket to the island Amantani and stay there overnight. The person at the counter ensured me: “no guides, no tour, just transport”. Once on the water a guide showed up and explained that we are soon going to visit Uros Island. Ok, I wanted to visit these islands as well, as they are pretty special because they are made completely of reed (de: “Schilf”) and are movable. Just a few families live on one island and there are about 80 of them in Lake Titikaka. But it seemed as most of these islands exist soley for tourists. Colorfully dressed people waved as our boat arrived and then explained how the island is constructed of reed and that you can actually eat the reed (tastes allright), showed us around their houses and wanted us to buy some souveniers. At the end most of the group took a tour on a reed boat with the locals singing songs (“Amazing Grace”) for them, while I and some french guys wondered what we got into here.

Before we arrived on Amantani island the guide explained that we will be assigend to a local family where we will stay overnight (that’s actually part of their community-based tourism system, which ensures that the whole community benefits equally) get lunch, and after 2 hours of “free-time”(!) we will meet at a certain place to go to the top of the island to see the sunset. So we did as about 50 other tourists that day. After dinner we were invited to dress up like the locals (russian-doll like dresses for the girls and plain ponchos for the boys) and join a party with the locals. Well, the other option was to sit alone in a dark, freezing room, so “vamos”. They sold expensive beer, a bad band played music and traditionally clothed locals showed us a dance and asked us to join. Ouch. Looking around I saw amused/awkward looks in the ponco-dressed gringos and an expression in some faces that said “What the fuck am I doing here?”.

Unexpected came another question:

“What do you want for lunch tomorrow, sir? It’s 20 Soles (expensive)”…

Aehm… “I just want to take the boat back tomorrow.”

“But the boat is going to visit Taquile Island and we will not come back before 5PM. We will have lunch on Taquile.”

“Is there no other boat going back directly?”


“Well… I’ll have the trout then…”

At this point resistance was futile and it was better to just play along and try to enjoy it anyways. Taquile turned out to be even more touristic than Amantani, but at least the trout was good. And as you can see in the photos, I liked the wheat and cereal crops on Amantani and the beautiful landscape there. But I definetly underestimated the tourism industry in Peru.

Around Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

By br1 May 23rd, 2011, under photo, travel

Here are some photos from the National Park around Puerto Lopez in Ecuador. “Aqua Blanca” is a small village which maintains a natural pool with 70% sulpur content which has been in use since pre-inca times, by the “Manta” people. “Los Frailles” is another beautiful beach.

Galapagos New Photos

By br1 March 30th, 2011, under photo, travel

Update: I have decided to stay one month longer on the Galapagos Islands. In the mean time I did a 4-day cruise on a katamaran, visiting some more uninhabited islands and hung around on the inhabited islands – so there are more photos of wildlife. I just uploaded 76 new photos, starting on gallery page 4. I hope you don’t get bored with Iguanas, sea-lions and birds yet – i’m still amazed every time i see some.

Galapagos Islands

By br1 March 11th, 2011, under photo, travel

I’m on the road again, travelling South-America for the next few month! I arrived in Quito, Ecuador about three weeks ago. Unfortunately I got infected with some kind of hybrid japanese-european-trans-pacific-flight-ninja-virus (others might call it a simple cold). The surprinsingly low temperatures in Quito at 2800m altitude plus the fact that I had to go out, get drunk and try to dance salsa the night I arrived after the 25 hour flight didn’t make that any better, so I was sick for the first week. Quito is quite nice though and I managed to get a few pictures from the colonial buildings in the old town:

I spent the last two weeks on the Galapagos Islands with my friends Matias and Mara. Unfortunately the sneaky virus installed itself in Mara’s immune system just after it was finished with me, so we were forced to take it slowly for most of the time (which is basically what we had planned anyways). The nature on the islands is amazing. From the moment you arrive you encounter the most exotic animals in paradise-like nature surroundings. Pelicans are everywhere, almost like pigeons in most cities, shooting from the sky into the water to catch fish, or standing motionless in the wind in some kind of meditation. I was particularly enchanted by seeing flamingos, which are the most exotic sight for me (Matias thinks flamingos are gay, just because they are pink, but whatever). Then there are iguanas (big lizards which can swim in the sea), the playful sea-lions, about 1m big land tortoises, sea turtles of the same size, white-tip-sharks hiding in the caves below the water, sea-horses hanging on to mangrove branches in muddy mangrove waters and penguins moving fast thru the water or standing on the lava rocks to heat up. It almost feels like in a zoo, only all the animals are free, wild and not very afraid of humans (naive?). One of the most amazing sites we visited were the “Tunneles” on Isabela Island: an area where the lava formed canals with sea-water, bridges and caves with cactus on top and giant turtles, sting-rays and fish swimming thru the water below. It’s one of these magical places which are so beautiful that they seem unreal and you feel like in a dream while you are there. I hope you can catch some of that feeling thru my photos.