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Blockade Running

BOLIVIA | Monday, 23 June 2008 | Views [1041]

Dave´s birthday was a travel day and we got the bus to Potosi expecting to arrive about 4pm and go out for a nice meal but it didn´t work out that simple!

Bolivian buses are not the most luxurious in South America and the roads can be a little suspect, so we bounced around for 5 hours - with a toilet stop (behind the bus for the ladies or behind a rock for the men - strangely enough I found I didn´t need to go!) Then we stopped, by a tiny little town cos the miners were on strike and had blocked the road. So we waited - the bus driver tried to talk to the leaders to let us through but they had blocked the road and then left. So we sat and waited. The couple of tour leaders on board  started the intricate negotiations and after dark we all picked up our backpacks and walked through the barricades - being jeered at by the miners round their camp fires. We then bused it to the next barricade to walk though - more jeers, but what did they expect us to do - the strike was 2 days early! We eventually made it in to town at 11pm, so not much of a Birthday!

Then we had the problem of how we were going to get out of Potosi! The strike was the mine bosses paying the miners to strike because they didn´t like the taxes they had to pay! A slightly strange situation, and the main square was filled with the guys playing cards and drinking all day and night. We waited and the strike didn´t lift so we had to blockade run - again. We got taxis (who arrived 2 hours late) to take us cross country, beautiful scenery but we could feel the rocks through the car floor and then along route 5 to Sucre. Now these taxis were like a death ride - going 120km/hr round blind corners on the wrong side of the road. Luck was on our side though as we made it and then only 24 hours late we´d escaped Potosi!

Sarah

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