Forging Friendships….

I gave you a sneek peak at the start of our Salt Flats Tour a few days ago.  I guess it’s time to get into some of the details for you.  Forging friendships while traveling is one of my favorite things.  We have all types of friends in life…some for a day; some for a season; some for a life-time.  (I know this quote comes from somewhere other than my little brain but I don’t have the energy to look it up right now…..so please be appeased that I know that I am plagerizing).    So, back to what I was saying….making friends.  Traveling allows you to forge quick friendships or kindships with other travelers pretty quickly.  I’ve learned this through my Travel Nursing as well as with personal travels.  Travelers tend to stick together and watch out for each other.  Wether it be travelers that I have worked with or met on the road; this has been a resounding consistency.

I want to introduce you to some new found friends from the Salt Flat Tour.

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This is Josh aka ‘Stinky Feet’.  Josh and his friend Michael were traveling from La Paz with basically the clothes on their backs.  If Teresa thought we smelled bad after the 3 day tour and no showers…..she should have sat next to ‘stinky feet’ for the entire 3 days!!  Love you Josh and hope you and Michael have a great time on the rest of your trip.

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Here is Michael.  Yes, Stinky Feets’ friend.  I will dub Michael the “Party Animal”.  Although I’m certain that Stinky Feet can hold his own…Michael holds a passion for getting as tossed as possible as often as possible.  There was something about a 10 shot challenge that I missed somewhere during the first night.  I guess Michael aced the challenge….although he slept most of the entire next day.  Stay safe and have fun Michael!

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Ok, I really don’t know why I put this picture in here except that when I was looking through the photos it stood out to me.  He is like, “hey…you!  I’m right here”.   I didn’t get to interact with this little guy so I guess we will have to come up with a name for him.  Let me know if you have any suggestions.

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When looking through all of the photos of our group, this one makes me smile EVERY time.  After our first day in the Salt Flats, we returned to Uyuni to stay the night.  Something about hail along our route and rain and making modifications in the itenieary….whatever.  So we all went to dinner together and played a rousing game of UNO.  Using both American and UK rules (they are a bit different), and trying to explain it all to our guide Isreal (pictured front, right) was a riot.  The thing that stands out in this picture to me is how everyone is smiling.  No one knew that I was taking the photo.  It isn’t practiced or planned or staged.  It’s just natural, true happiness.

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Meet Mattias.   Mattias is traveling with Flavia (whom I’ll introduce below).  I call Mattias our “Loner” of the group.  He always seemed to seek out a quiet spot to gaze, relax and observe.  Really taking it all in.  Comfortable and without a care.  Mattias was a great conversationalist as well.   This photo is taken on Day 2 of our tour at a random lake filled with alge.  It was actually quite beautiful.  We had a nice stop for lunch here.  Mattias, I enjoyed all of our conversations and strive to be as relaxed as you one day!

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Meet Isreal (far Left).  Isreal was our guide for the trip.  Relaxed and fun-loving, Isreal was a good guide.  He was raised and went to school in LaPaz, studied Geology at the University for 2 years (I think), then quite the University to move to Uyuni to be a tour guide.   Thanks Isreal for your knowledge and information.

Meet Jose (far Right).  Jose was our Driver/Cook/Mechanic.  He did a wonderful job of navigating the ditches, crevaces, streams, and boulders along the way.  Forging our route when it would appear that there was no route to take.  Several times he had to check under the hood and adjust something so the 4×4 would start.  Even with much pressure from Josh and Michael to let them drive he didn’t cave in and let them….for this I am very happy!  Jose, thank you for safe passage through the Bolivian Salt Flats and Desert.

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Finally…..Meet Flavia.  Flavia was our “Photographer”.  At every stop she was out and about with camera in hand working on her National Geographic photo capture.  I’m sure with her determination it will happen.  (She didn’t say anything about NatGeo….just my observations).  Flavia was also our interpreter and Spanish instructor for most of the trip.  I truly appreciate all the assistance she gave us in understanding a bit more of the Spanish language.   Flavia, it was wonderful to meet you and thank you for all of your assistance!

I enjoyed all of the interactions with those in our group and I hope that if any are ever in America, you will contact me.   Having such a diverse group of people made the trip something special.

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