The overnight bus VIP section was really comfortable and I was happy I had paid a little extra for it. I had a single seat in the back and they provided a meal, wine and blanket and a movie that I didn't watch. It was super warm and I was comfortable but couldn't really fully sleep. We arrived around 5am and the first thing Anthonia told me was that she was throwing up all night from food poisoning and I felt super bad (we didn't have data so there was no way to communicate with her on the second level). We had eaten the same thing on the bus (maybe hers went bad) or could've been from something she had eaten the day before, who knows, but very unlucky. Once we got our luggage we were taken (followed this man who said he worked for the tour office company) to a cafe where we had to wait until the tour office opened up at 9am (Perla De Bolivia). Anthonia slept and I ate and had a smoothie and coffee and organized my things until it was 9am. We were the first ones in the tour office. Uyuni was a very small deserted town with really nothing there so thankful that we were just there to catch the bus for the 3-day tour that left at 10:30am. I checked to make sure I was still getting a single bed the first night and the guy who had walked in was telling the other guy something in Spanish (who ended up being our tour guide). I knew right off the bat that he wasn't going to be the best guide because of his attitude and the way he talked, seemed cocky and a bit standoffish. Anyway, while we were waiting we met this German couple who we ended up becoming the closest with and shared a car with (along with a UK couple). So there were 6 of us in one SUV and then another SUV came along that was going to Chile at the end of the 3 day tour. In the other car was this mom and daughter from Canada, an Australian couple, and these two girlfriends from Canada. It was a nice big group and we all got along as strangers very well. The first stop was at this train cemetery that wasn’t very interesting and then at this salt factory where they showed us how salt is distributed from Bolivia. Finally after driving a little more, we arrived at the salt desert! I had been wanting to go here for so long and was drinking a Quinoa beer in the jeep as we arrived at the desert, loving life. We stopped to have a picnic lunch at this place with bathrooms and took some pictures. Then drove a little further to take more pictures and videos and then stopped at another place along the desert where there was this cacti dessert which was really beautiful and amazing to see in the middle of this white salt desert and then drove a little further to watch the sunset with some wine and crackers. It was really nice and relaxing, I was happy Anthonia was there with me or else I would've felt very lonely. We arrived at the salt hostel just in time before dark and I had to argue with the tour guide about the single room that I had tried to confirm beforehand (he was trying to put me in a room with 3 others). I ended up negotiating with him so that me and Anthonia could share a room with a large queen bed and twin bed, and then all of us sat and shared dinner together that was very plain and they wouldn't provide water, which was ridiculous to me. Woke up the next morning well rested and drove off to see some volcanoes and red and green lagoons. I had no idea there were pink flamingos in Bolivia and seeing them for the first time was awesome, on this red lagoon, the view was spectacular. And then we ate lunch at this really open window restaurant with a view of the flamingos on this other vibrant blue lake and surrounding deserted hills in the middle of nowhere. It was a great day so far and then we had to drive to the hostel as the sun was going to set early and the weather was very cold so we didn't want to be out at dark. As we arrived to the hostel, which was one-story and very small and deserted, we unloaded our bags and were placed in a large 6-person room with single beds. The family that was hosting us had the cutest little boy with red cheeks that we played with as we enjoyed some warm tea and crackers and then we played some cards and had a yummy dinner and wine afterwards. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to sleep from being too cold but they provided sleeping bag and I layered up so I was fine. We had to be up at 4am and I actually didn't really get good sleep so wasn't in the best mood that morning. It was pitch black and cold and the stars were beautiful but it was kind of annoying we had to wake up so early just to take the other SUV to Chile. We first stopped at this hot spring volcano spot with a lot of smoke and a rotten smell and then the more natural hot springs that no one wanted to go in because it was still too cold and early in the morning. Then we stopped at the green lagoon that wasn't actually green because it wasn't windy enough apparently. Separated from the Chile car and then drove all the way back to Uyuni, which was a long and brutal drive, I think about 5-6 hours. I was not feeling good and had to sit in the back where it was super bumpy, claustrophobic and uncomfortable. Thankfully I was able to switch to the middle seat halfway there and felt better. Anthonia and I arrived in Uyuni around 4pm and got changed and went to get pizza with the German couple. It was a nice place to sit and chat for a few hours before catching the next night bus to Sucre (at 10pm), another long 8 hour bus ride.
Purchasing tickets and getting on the bus to Sucre was quite the ordeal, probably the most unique experience of my life and I still laugh about it. First of all, we had downed a bottle of wine each during dinner and then had to walk around the town to find a printer because the lady at the ticketing booth was saying we had to print our tickets even though we had pictures of the ticket we had purchased online on our phone. None of the printing stores were open and we asked around and even accidentally walked in on this random party that was going on at the top of this building that was pretty funny/embarrassing as we were two white blonde chicks probably looking psycho to these local Bolivians. We went back to the bus after trying and asking around, and thankfully Anthonia spoke well-enough Spanish that she was able to sweet talk our way on to the bus without the printed tickets. As we got on the bus, I felt like our lives were saved or something...did not want to stay in that place any longer. This young Australian girl came on right after we sat down and thankfully switched seats with Anthonia so she could sit next to me. We chatted with her for a couple hours about our travels and she's also a yoga teacher so we talked about that and she get me recommendations for when I go Australia, and then I tried to get some rest (I ended up meeting up with her in Australia too!). I watched some Netflix shows and tried to go to bed but couldn't fall asleep and then I tried peeing in a Pringles container (so I wouldn't have to use the gross bathroom LOL), but then my body temperature started to heat up quickly so I really thought I was going to puke. I woke up Anthonia and went down to the bathroom to try to throw up but wasn't able to. I felt somewhat better after 10 minutes and just closed my eyes and thankfully was able to relax a little in my window seat. We arrived in Sucre early around 4:30am and the three of us split an Uber to our hostels in the middle of town. I was glad to be back in a civilized town alas!