Tiny dancer – Salar de Uyuni

Turmoil was bubbling as the Bolivian president threatened to increase the price of petrol by 70%(!) Some streets in Lapaz were already blocked off and we were informed that protests could get real ugly – so we got out of Lapaz quick smart and headed for the Salt Flats of Uyuni – the largest salt flats in the world at 10,582 square kilometers.

The salt flats were amazing an ran for as far as the eye could see, providing an excellent background for some creative photography that manipulated objects from tiny to large and visa versa. I got to get down with the Lonely Planet South America guide-book, kick a giant Fanta bottle, and have a teeny tiny Amanda do dancers pose on the palm of my hand!! Every little girls dream turned adult fantasy! (adult fantasy, not porn.)

You were given the creative freedom to design a scene with whatever props available, and even though these pictures could have been easily produced on the computer back home, it was the manual 4 hour effort to make the positioning just right that made the experience fun and memorable.

Unfortunately, creating an image of a tiny me swallowing a giant imodium pill, an image that represented an important part of my time in South America so far, proved to be too difficult an illusion to create in the salt flats of Uyuni.

I will need to pay tribute to my traveling ‘life jacket’ in some other way…

The Terracotta Warriors

The Lonely Planet list the Terracotta Warriors as the Number 2 thing to see in China, losing only to the Forbidden City as number 1, and followed by the Bund in Shanghai, and the Great Wall at number 4. And as amazing as it was, I personally feel the Great wall wins over both the Warriors and the Forbidden city.

Don’t get me wrong, the Terracotta Warriors were amazing in their own right and completely incredible!!

The excavation site is massive! And to think that this was only discovered in 1974 and that they are still working through and discovering more and more relics is unbelievable!

The mausoleum had been in planning since Quin (Shi Huang) became Emporer when he was just 13, in 246 BC – thats 38 years of planning for someones death! And these people believed that in the afterlife, the Emporer would need all his earthly pleasures, and army to look over him, including over 8,000 warriors of different sorts, his arts community including instruments and replicas of the musicians, swan’s, ducks, cranes, horses and charriots, and horse stables etc .. oh yeah, I was pretty impressed. Until I found out that they had recreated the stables, put real horses in them with water pots near their heads, and then burried the horses alive! This made me sick to the stomach and I was very disappointed in the Quin people = (

There are always so many more Chinese nationals touring the site from other provinces than there are overseas foreigners that the site doesn’t cater primarily for english speakers, and a lot of the video information was in Chinese.

So without understanding the complete background of what I was viewing, and with such an active imagination from growing up on Sci-fi’s and horrors, it was hard not to dream up an alternative history for how this earthly underworld came to be.

Was the Emporers army assembling to fight off some dark supernatural super power that turned everything living, within a 16,300 square metre radius of this site, into stone? or terracotta?? And did the surviving community transform the remains into this life size Mausoleum, and bury it deep in the earth, not to be spoken, or written in any of the history books, in the hope of appeasing this evil heinous entity into never rising again???

As I pondered these thoughts, I could almost see these terracotta warriors come to life, eye’s slowly opening, releasing white beams from their gaze – (Much like in Never Ending story when the lasers shoot out of the eyes of the Golden statue guards as Atreyu tries to pass)

Completely impossible! However, I did make note of the exits just in case.