You are going to die” The man shouts and raises his hand to gesture a knife cutting his throat. He is well dressed. His blue button down tour operator shirt appears freshly cleaned. His belt bunkle shines in the sunny glare.
“Thank you sir, will you come to my funeral? I like purple flowers” I mumble while giggling at the dramatics that are unfolding.
“I sort of just wanted to know how locals navigate on a wet high altitude Bolivian salt lake. There´s nothing to follow, the tracks have been washed away." I say
I do not have a GPS (global positioning system) but the GTL (Global Locals System) usually works… well everywhere but here I think to myself.
“We don´t do tours to the island in the rain season, too much water” He says, a grin softens his right cheek. His eyes begin to sparkle.
“So where is the lake at? Is it there or there?” My gloved hand points out over the vast expanse of a white plateau.
I am willing to walk if the water is deep I think to myself
“You are going to die, and alone!!!” He says less loudly then the first time. His smile is expanding. My grin is reaching flirtatious proportions as I patiently wait for some instruction on how the locals find the dry camping island.
“Thank you sir, have a good day, I am going to just go west, there is a island out there somewhere….” I say while I peering out through my weak sunglasses at the sea of salt. I shift my feet in the slushy wet salt. I am strattling Pandemic, my green bike. It is speckled with white dots and salty chunks, a perfect look for a bike called Pandemic.
“The Sahara desert in North Africa, looked a lot like this. I really enjoyed cycling alone in Africa.” I say.
Boy am I really shining it on now I think to myself. Maybe if I tell him scary Africa stories this dude will give up which bump out there on the horizon I should aim towards
“Did you know that my small wheel here fits inside a lions mouth” I grin while leaning down and brushing the salt off my wheel.
“That giraffe I cycled with, I can´t believe how fast he could run. How do you say zebra in Spanish, sir?”” I grin and chuckle even enjoying my own sarcasm at this point.
“You see that volcano there...” I am abruptly interrupted like a mouth full of soap.
“Keep the vocanoe on the right and those mountains on the left. Look for 3 bumps on the horizon, aim for number 2. The island will appear in 55 km on the left.” He is using his figure as a pen. His clean shirt tightens over his back as he crouches down over the salty puddle. His hand drawn map of Salar de Uyuni and Salar de Copiaso, the worlds largest salt lakes appears before me.
“Buenos Viajes (safe travels)” He says
“Thank you sir . The GLS (Global Local System) works everytime. I say as I adjust my sunglasses, tighten my face bandanna and head off though Bolivia´s Inter-salar (salt lakes) Rt 1 to the inter- volcano route and eventually to the capital La Paz.