Uyuni, Bolivia

After 3 days crossing the Bolivian altiplano which culminated with the mind-boggling Salar de Uyuni, our butts were very much ready for a rest and a much needed shower. Our group checked in at the Tonito Hotel, close to a Bolivian military base. Anne had reserved tables at the Minuteman Pizza, the hotel's well-known pizzeria, for the group's dinner tonight.

Uyuni, a town of some 14,000 souls, serves mainly as a base for tourists going to or coming from a visit to the salt flats. There's nothing much to see in this town perched at 3,675 meters above sea level. Tourists go around the center of town to check on e-mail at internet cafes and change dollars at the cambios. I did just that and more: I had to make an overseas call to American Airlines in the U.S. to ask if I can change my departure date a day later. Unluckily there are no seats available. I'm getting hungry and it's getting colder as the sun went down.

Truly unique in concept, Minuteman Pizza lets you pay first for whatever you order at the cashier, whereupon you get a playing card that identifies you with your order, in my case a personal-sized meat pizza, lemonade and "death by chocolate" cake. The waiter brings in the order and shouts "anyone with ten of hearts?" as I raise my card. More than the concept, the pizza truly delivered the goods - my hunger goes away deliciously. The cake was so moist and decadent I thought I wasn't in Bolivia.

I'd better not think I'm not in Bolivia. Tomorrow, we're off for a seven-hour bus ride to Potosi. The roads are unpaved, very much a sign that I'm still in Bolivia.

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