My first stay in a hostel will definitely be hard to top. Quinua Dorada started my weekend in Uyuni/the Salar on such a high note. Upon arriving, the woman owner greeted us pleasantly and welcomed us inside. Her first impression of me must have been something along the line of weak, because she insisted on carrying my bag all the way up the stairs to the top floor. When I tried to tell her I was more than capable, she said “¡no, no, eres pequeñito!” I immediately liked she and her husband; they were so lively and helpful. Additionally, the rooms were warm and cozy, and the breakfast was AMAZING. I tried guava jelly for the first time and loved it. After breakfast, we browsed through the numerous alpaca products (sweaters, blankets, hats, gloves, backpacks, etc) and they were more than willing to let us basically run rampant trying on clothes and picking out our favorites.
With all of this being said, I realized that even with all of their hospitality, they rely on the customers completely. By that I mean that to keep themselves afloat, they need good costumer reviews because there are many options for the tourists that visit Uyuni. It is super interesting to me to think about how all of that goes together. Tourists need places to stay–>many hotels are built to accommodate that–>because of all the hotels–>costumer service has to be excellent–>good costumer reviews. Also, the alpaca goods made them a really cool place to stay, but again, they rely completely on costumers for this, too. I bought two sweaters and a fanny pack, but I was wearing two of the items I bought (so they were hidden from view). They relied on my honesty (and everyone else’s) because unless they install cameras, they will never be able to completely know what all is taken from their store since they have minuscule objects like coin purses in addition to the bulky blankets. I am intrigued in this side of their business because I work at a clothing store in Oxford, and we have had many incidents with thieves stealing valuable items. My job is just extra income for me, yet we still have cameras to try to prevent the loss of inventory. The couple who owns Quinua Dorada is completely reliant on their business, yet they seem so trusting. Why is that? Are people more honest here, or is the cost of a camera something completely unimaginable in a Bolivian hostel? These are just a couple thoughts I had on that difference between a clothing store in the US and a Bolivian hostel.
If anyone reading this goes to Uyuni and needs a place to stay, 10/10 would recommend Quinua Dorada. Fabulous place.