10:30 in the morning, so far it’s been a 7 hour drive from the city of La Paz, the strong winds and quantity of andean camelids sighted on the road, announce our proximity to the Lipez salt flats (known today as the Uyuni Salt Flats). Tradition has it that the Lipez bought their own territory from the Spanish Viceroyalty, installed in Cuzco during the conquest of the New World and delivered to the yoke over 8 acres of gold as payment. I imagine that the Spaniards had no interest in this area as anyone returning from expeditions to the desert of salt along with the absence of gold or silver, only salt in unimaginable quantities. Who could imagine at the time, even in the generation of my grandparents, that the Salt Flats of Uyuni would be of global interest in our day and that many countries would be interested in partnering with Bolivia to exploit the planet’s largest deposit site of the gold of the future, lithium.
Arriving at noon, I can make out a long white thread in the sky and feel inside of me, the thrill of venturing into one of the most strange and fantastic places on earth.
At 60 miles per hour we traveled on a surface paved by thousands of pentagons and hexagons of salt formed by the climatic conditions of this place. The rarefied oxygen and solar radiation coming from all directions requires the use of eye and skin protection, these protections being the common denominator of the characters in this story, men who live and work in this place of science fiction, adapted to the geography and climate of the world’s largest salt desert.