Already two weeks in Bolivia. Time really flies. Soooo much to tell…. That’s why we do it in two posts. We are now in Potosi, but first: border to Salar de Uyuni.
Bolivia, land of the extremes. It’s one of the coldiest and warmest places in South America. It has the driest and saltiest landscapes. It is the poorest country in South America, but is richest in terms of natural resources.
On friday august 27 we did the Bolivian bordercrossing. The easiest so far, there was no one else.
We spent two nights in Copacabana, a little village at Lake Titicaca.
We enjoyed the sunny weather during daytime and tried to stay warm after sunset. Bas and Steve climbed the religious hill with nice view over the Lake. A lot of local people do this climb, buy some stuff at the top and have a religious ceremony with beer down the hill.
The funny thing is, that it has only to do with material things. Houses, cars, money, everything on scale they could buy on top and have a beer ceremony whishing it would become theirs. This might be the solution to our budget problem….just ask for more money.
So, we bought some fake dollars and a mini motorbike and asked for good luck on our bike trip and a budget miracle. The drunk priest did his thing and about four bottles of beer were used.
Some might say it is spillage of beer. But, don’t worry Ab, it wasn’t Heineken.
Sunday morning we drove to La Paz, worlds highest capital at 3600m. The easiest way to get into this chaotic metropolis, hoping everyone would be in church. Indeed it wasn’t that bad.
In La Paz we stayed 5 days with our main goal to do some maintenance on our bikes. Some people consider La Paz a not so pleasant place (to say it nicely), but we sort of liked it. It is just a chaotic big city, but it has its charm.
Maybe you can compare the chaotic La Paz life with its power supply. It works, so no one complains.
On every corner they sell dried lama fetuses. They say it will bring luck, when burried under your house. We thought of buying one for some luck along the road….
We met some travellers we met before and had a few beers with Vince…..again. We also wanted to do the death road, the worlds most dangerous road. This ofcourse is mainly to attract tourists, but we wanted to decide for ourselves. Unfortunately we were stopped by the rain and snow while climbing to 4800m. Besides, Steve and Bas’ bike looked like they were dying. No power, since the day we entered Bolivia our bikes ran like shit. Combination of bad fuel and the altitude. We decided to do something about the carburettor because we would be riding high altitudes the next few weeks (the Alti Plano: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altiplano). Went to an old mechanic and he did the trick we heard from Charlie in Amsterdam….adding the tiniest piece of copper wire to the main jet in the carb. After that the bike drove smooth like riding at sealevel. WOW! Sorry ladies for getting too technical….
We left La Paz friday september 3. Next goal was to ride the Salar the Uyuni, the worlds largest salt flat at an altitude of 3700m. We made it to Oruro, famous for its carnival, but we were 5 months too early. We had our first coca tea there, made of coca leaves…..also known for the white power.
Next day we drove to our Salar startpoint. A long day of dirtroads through beautiful Bolivia.
At nightfall we made it to Salinas de Garci Mendoza, (north of the Salar) and were very surprised to find a neat place to spend the night in this little desolate village.
Next morning we woke up to ride one of the highlights so far, Salar the Uyuni (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salar_de_Uyuni). But before we got there, there was a terrible road of thin sand. Not all of us were able to keep the bike in the right position.
But after that……….indescribable. We entered the Salar and had 12.000 square km of salt flat for ourselves. We felt like little boys again.
In the beginning we were not sure if it was salt or snow. Our salt expert did a close examination and concluded it was 100% pure salt.
Ok amigos, soon the rest of our Salar the Uyuni experiences and more .