Route: Villazón – Uyuni
Train Company: Wara Wara del Sur (only Monday and Thursday)
Level: Clase Popular (the most basic)
Cost: 40 Bolivianos
15:30 – 01:30 (10 hours)
We left at 15:30. Now we are setting off again after a half-hour stop in Tupiza that is disappearing quietly into foggy lakes, naked bulbs and quiet willow trees. Up until Tupiza we were all sharing two banks of green leather seats, facing each other, which left a thin space for us to entangle our legs. Every hour we rotated since the best seat was the window seat, there the breeze offered some relief from the baking carriage. We lolled on each other’s shoulders and Ian dribbled down his beard. Anna developed a migraine and I would dampen packs of tissue paper to cool her brow. Spotted around us were Bolivians.
As night came the train turned from oven to freezer. We had to put on our newly bought Bolivian jumpers and huddle up. The train was gaining altitude all the time and Anna was having a torrid time of it. By now the train had pretty much emptied, and so I could lie down across one of the seats and try to sleep, but the noise and the rattling prevented it.
We arrived in Uyuni disgruntled and cold. We had booked accommodation in a hostel but couldn’t find it because the house-numbering system was non-existent. The numbers would rise for three consecutive houses, 45, 47, 49, giving hope that they’d continue, only to drop back down to 15, before jumping again to 43. It was completely stupid. The entire town must hate their postman. The cold bit deep and it wasn’t until we’d doubled back on ourselves twice and split up into separate search groups that we eventually found the blasted hostel a long way down the main street. It’s weak light like a beacon for our broken bodies. We entered, collapsed, and slept.