"QUANTUM SHOT" #358(rev)
Link - article by Avi Abrams

Steam locomotives, rusting away in Dali's desert of time

In the first part of this travelogue, we showed the serene and fantastic beauty of the Uyuni's Salt Lake in Bolivia - the weird cactus forest, salt formations and volcanos surrounding one of the most desolate landscapes on Earth. We also mentioned the train graveyard, and now we have some pictures to prove it.

Torgeir Bull from Norway has recently traveled in these parts, and brought us a report... no less outlandish than the last article:

There were plans to develop the area near the city of Uyuni (3660 ft above the sea level) into a great railroad hub and terminal station. The construction started in the late 19th century, but was never completed. Today, the empty husks of steam locomotives are rusting away under the watchful sun, like some kind of discarded metal carapaces - while the soft pinky-flesh train "kiddies", no doubt, roam the desert, chewing on some llamas... A picture worthy of S. Dali, perhaps entitled "Time & Rust" -

(bottom image credit: Travis)

Weird skulls and bones are spread here and there -

As the flattest plain on Earth recedes into vastness of space and time -

More shots of salt pyramid structures. Some of them are arranged into patterns only visible from space... just kidding.

Torgeir writes:
"...We traveled to the Uyuni Salt Pans, the largest in the world - a sea of salt, a fantasy world of its own. It looks like an endless frozen over lake or a white expanse of desert, and is actually the evidence of a prehistoric sea that existed there.

This site gives additional info: The lake's total area is 10,580 km2, average annual temperature ranges from 20°Celsius in the daytime to -25°C at night; the climate is dry and cold, with low rainfall and intense solar radiation. As a result of the instant evaporation of ground water that occurs in the southern high plateau due to the dryness of the air, enormous flat salt beds have formed, consisting mainly of the sodium chloride... The surface crust is 10 m thick, and the amount of salt in the Pans is estimated at 64000 millions tons"

The "forest" of giant cactuses (or cacti) - goes well with the playground of gutted steam trains:

To solidify the Salvador Dali connection, this area even has a (huge!) Dali rock:

(image credit: Travis)

...and a "wave of lava" -

(images credit: Travis)

...and so the Jeep disappears into a wide blue yonder -

More great Bolivia experiences

The road just outside Sucre is shown in the photos below. The roads during the rain season are not (read NOT) in good condition... The rock slides are common and buses have to navigate around them almost every 50 meters:

Many taxi drivers in Bolivia use imported cars, so they have to move the steering wheel over to the left side. This picture is taken from the right front seat.

Strange bridge found near a village. Image taken just before a bunch of dogs decided to go after us.

Even more fantastic bridge, found between Sucre and Potosi - styled after some fantasy castle:

Last find is a fitting ending to the bizarre country and the Bolivian landscapes tour, the closest thing on Earth to a "Salvador Dali-Land" theme park!

Article by Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend.




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Blogger Spike said...

Those are some really amazing pictures. Thanks so much for sharing them.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those tracks look like they're still in use... no rust on the too.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

wonderful pictures,

Anonymous Anonymous said...

trust me, those tracks ARE rusted; but that doesn't mean they don't use them, hehe; in Bolivia we use stuff until they break, hahaha.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife and I went to Bolivia to see the salt flats based on a previous posting on DRB. It was truly amazing. It was really fun to play around in the train graveyard. The currently running train passes right by the old abandoned trains, hence the still used tracks. If you want to see more picture of the salt flats or the trains, I have a few (although not as good as these) up at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mooreta79/

Blogger Stealthy Dachshund said...

Is it too late to point out an hilariou typo?

"chewing on some lamas... "

That would certainly mess with their meditation.

Anonymous Jurgen said...

I'm not sure how I ended up on your site, but those pictures made the visit really worth it!

Bolivia has so many sides to it, I always get surprised again...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like the Jeep is out of petrol :)

Blogger gweggles said...

There was a very damning report about this very area on our 'Foreign Correspondant'. Uyuni is the site of the greatest lithium depsosits in the world worth trillions of dollars, read the new oil; the locos were featured as a reference to exploitations past.
Bolivia currently has a socialist government and those pesky Bolshies actually want 50% cut of their natural resources. Does that mean the salt lake will be dug up as they have to expose the brine water to get to the lithium?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is another graveyard here

Blogger Phosphan said...

There are some of nice places still missing from this area:
The red lake - laguna colorada:
The real "Dali" part of the desert:
The green lake:
A white lake, just around the corner:

A funny graffito from the train graveyard:
"Wanted: An experienced mechanic"
A piece of the salt crust from the lake:

We've been there two years ago, and it is really a fantastic place. The rest of the country aswell. So diverse, so beautiful.


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