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Boliva

BOLIVIA | Tuesday, 2 March 2010 | Views [483] | Comments [2]

We left Chilie last week so we were no where near the earthquake, we´re both fine. Although there was apparently a minor quake when we were in chilie, but we never felt it.

At the Bolivian/chilean border we met our Bolivian 4x4 jeep drivers for the next three days. We thought 17 year old Moses in his Hollister jumper was a good choice, but as it turned out he hated the music on our ipod and wasn´t overly impressed at our spanish speaking, even though we told him he now had ´quatro novias´four girlfriends, we obviously weren´t his type. He did pull through for us though when it was raining and we were heading across the desert/salt flats and the jeep lost control, did  360 turn and ended up on two wheels, we are still alive to tell the tale.

The drive across the desert and salt flats were amazing, we visited lots of different lagoons, volcanos and geysers, saw lots of flamingos.The only down side to all these amazing sights is the accommodation, in that there is hardly anything, its like no mans land. The last night of sarah being 21 was spent in what can only be described as a concrete bunker, 6 of us in a room, no water, -5 degrees at night, llamas running up and down the hallway, the generator for the lights were only on between 7 and 10. it was definatley a goodnight jimbob, goodnight mary ellen situation. The second nights accommdation, wasn´t so bad, it was the salt hotel, everything was made from salt. There was a shower here, it wasn´t as cold and the beds were nicer. The lights still cut out at 10, but we had candles, flash lights, wine, a cake and ipods. All this was worth it for the day on the salt flats, which were amazing. We took so many photos, and they will speak for themselves once we figure out how to get them up.

When we stayed in Uyuni,there was monsoon rain. Getting home one night the water was nearly up to our knees and so we had to get a taxi,  only in the taxi was the taxi driver, his wife and two children up front, and 5 of us in the back, very interesting journey! Due to all the rain, many of the roads in Bolivia had collapsed so buses were running about 16hours behind schedule, but we made the decision, as a group, to plough on through  with our journey to Potosi................disaster! We were sat in the very back row, everything in the bus was broken, the seats were in a permanent reclining position, this meant when we hit the biggest pothole Cesca was catapaulted from her seat over the one in front, im talking nose practically touching the seat in front. Sarahs (brand nerw) sunglasses flew half way down the bus along with our bags and she was knocked out by a two litre bottle of water that flew down from the top. This was a very long journey, between all the stops and the window next to cesca that wouldnt stay shut, so all the rain was coming in. Therefore upon our arrival in Potosi we headed straight for beer, wine and llama steaks!

Potosi is famous for the silver mines, we got ready to  go in, you know collecting our attire from a shed, via a butchers, very strange! Again in a bus that was about to fall apart we travelled like miners up a very rocky and steep hill to the mines, chomping on coca leaves, but staying away from the 96% alcohol, it was only 10am. On our way into the mine that was pitch black and very low, Cesca had a panic attack and ran out, she stayed outside and was chatted up by a miner who had the remains of chewed coca leaves stuck in between the few teeth he had in his head... nice! Sarah continued, it was really hard to breathe and there was a lot of climbing and ducking involved, needless to say she  survived even after blowing up dynamite.

Next stop, La Paz, visited the witches market, lots of al paca and dead llamas, and women knee deep in fruit. Then our turn on death road came... it was amazing, the views were spectacular including the view of our tour guide paul from galway. We were both doing really well, its mainly about  brake control, riding downhill singing rod stewart, wake up maggie, at the top of our voices. It gets more difficult and rocky as you go further down, and much narrower. You have to concentrate really  hard on not hitting a boulder!  But it all got a bit much for Sarah as she hit a rock and flew over the handle bars. Cesca completed the 64km by bike, Sarah had to finish it in the back of the bus, the bus that was the same width as the road... i shall say no more.

Comments

1

I remember that tour. Cold as hell. And the accomodation? Well your description is accurate - but imagine poor old 6'5" of me in one of these Bolivian cots with a huge crater in the middle of the mattress - not cool. And then I got "ill" in Uyuni itself which also wasn't much fun. I got a bus to Potosi feeling like death, fell asleep and work up to find a Cholita sitting next to me had placed a dead goat on my lap for storage! Fun times :)

Hope you are well cuz x

  Doms Mar 3, 2010 8:55 AM

2

Glad to hear you are both safe and sound. A few concerns of your whereabouts... Epic photos - they do speak for themselves! Cracking arm wear in some of those photos sarah!!!

Keep enjoying it girls! xxx

  laura Coyle Mar 3, 2010 10:56 AM

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