The cloud-scraping plateau of the Andes is an otherworldly realm where flamingos lift off from a lagoon warmed by hot springs and colored carnelian by algae.
Moonlight bathes Incahuasi Island, an outcropping of cacti and fossilized algae in the Uyuni salt flat. A great lake covered this area 16,000 years ago. When it dried up, it left a 4,000-square-mile basin of salt, the world's largest such deposit.
To find new grazing, vicuñas dash across a corner of the Uyuni salt flat. Just three feet tall, these animals produce wool so soft it was reserved for Inca royalty. Hunted almost to extinction, they're now protected and making a comeback.
Vehicles seem to float on a shimmering salt flat flooded by summer rains.
Winter's relentless sun vaporizes snow to create spiky forms called nieves penitentes near the top of Pomerape Volcano, at 20,000 feet. Snow falls lightly at such extreme altitudes in the cold, dry climate along the Bolivia-Chile border.
Piles of salt, scraped by pickax from the deposit at Uyuni, await transport by truck to a nearby processing plant. How much salt does this vast basin hold? Estimates range upward from ten billion tons—just one example of Bolivia's abundant mineral wealth, which includes tin, silver, zinc, and natural gas.
Rare puna flamingos make Laguna Colorada their main nesting ground. Also known as James's flamingos, the birds were thought extinct before a 1957 expeditiondiscovered this colony, which now includes about 15,000 breeding pairs. During winter, when the air temperature here at 14,000 feet above sea level sometimes plunges to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, birds flock to the openings of the hot springs that keep Laguna Colorada warm.
On the Altiplano, wind erodes rock into a modernist shape perched on a narrow base.
The shadow of Sajama—at 21,463 feet, Bolivia's highest peak—juts over the rugged Chilean coast. Bolivia lost access to the sea in the late 19th-century War of the Pacific, which embittered relations between the two countries.
Domesticated llamas spread across a spring-fed pasture at the edge of the Uyuni salt flat. Such creatures have provided communities in the Altiplano with food, wool, and sturdy backs to bear burdens since before the time of the Inca.
The 747-8 is the largest and newest 747 version, the longest passenger aircraft in the world. The 747-8 is offered in two main variants: the 747-8 Intercontinental (747-8I) for passengers and the 747-8 Freighter (747-8F) for cargo. he aircraft will be capable of carrying up to 467 passengers in a 3-class configuration over 8,000 nmi (15,000 km) at Mach 0.855.
The 747-8 Intercontinental will have the lowest seat-mile cost of any large commercial jetliner, with 12 per cent lower costs than its predecessor, the 747-400. The airplane provides 16 per cent better fuel economy, 16 per cent less carbon emissions per passenger and generates a 30 per cent smaller noise footprint than the 747-400.
The 747-8 applies interior features from the 787 Dreamliner that includes a new curved, upswept architecture giving passengers a greater feeling of space and comfort.
The entrance to the plane has a wide-open foyer area that includes a curved staircase to the upper deck.
Korean Air has joined launch customer Lufthansa in ordering a total of 33 747-8 Intercontinentals. First delivery of the 747-8 Intercontinental is scheduled for the fourth quarter. Air China also has agreed to order five Intercontinentals, pending government approval.
The Boeing design concept for the 747-8 VIP, showing view from the top of the spiral staircase, with the dining area and a ladder extending to library shelves.
Design concept for the 747-8 VIP showing a dining area with a spiral staircase and vaulted ceilings.