The morning of our departure to Licancabur is a hectic one. We wanted to book our 3 day 4x4 tour to Uyuni, but found out that Yumi may have an issue with her Bolivian visa. The issue: because we go to Bolivia to climb the mountain and then return to Chile and return to Bolivia with the tour, Yumi may have to pay an additional $50 on top of the $135 she will already have to pay. As Mauricio says, "Thanks, George Bush."
In order to try and avoid the additional charge, we decide to stay in Bolivia. It is then a mad rush to pack up our stuff, buy food and exchange money. We leave our bags with the tour agency and take only our day packs with us.
With us on the climb is Mauricio, the 2nd guide Marcelo, "Penguino" born and raised in Ushuaia, Argentina and Renato from Brasil. It is the first real mountain climb for all 4 of us.
At the Bolivian border, the border guard wants to keep Yumi's passport. Thankfully, he likes Yumi's smile and her middle name ("Tina, like Tina Turner") and he lets her keep it.
During dinner, Mauricio gives us a briefing on warning signs of altitude sickness. Yumi is more worried getting altitude sickness than actually climbing the mountain. As we drink coca tea, Mauricio explains that the whole coca thing is a myth. We go to bed at 8pm for a 2am start.