bus travel, big city, bus travel
24.10.2005 17 °C
Left copabana with Phil and Jackie on the bus to La Paz, a trip of 5 hours. The trip was for a long time around the shores of Lake Titicaca but we were high up in the mountain ranges and had had snow capped mountains most of the way down to La Paz. Half way down we had to get off the bus and travel across the lake on a little launch whilst the bus went over on its own barge. The trip was through the country and ok, lots of little villages, and in some areas it looked like the area was the holiday house area for the rich people from la paz, and there were also some picnic areas. close to la paz we came across road blockages, where women who have been unable to get propane gas blocked off the main access road into la paz by sitting acorss the road with their gas bottles. we had to go around the blockages through narrow little streets about 4 times and we achieved this until we got close to the main city where they had blocked the main access road into the city and there was no-where to go around them. The assistant driver got out and with some traffic management and some brute force he got us around7through the blockage and then it was a smooth downhill rapid descent into la paz. la paz is a pretty big city, pretty drab, lots of noise, traffic and people. Got dropped off at the bus terminal and then had to try and find somewhere to stay - got some pretty basic directions to the hostel area and on the way came across some people who had been on the walk with us - finally decided to go to the hostel where the young couple we had met previously and who were in la paz and after some juggling pedestrians, traffic and hills found the hostel and stayed there for two days. On arrival we found that the train we were going to take to Uyuni was not running due to a strike by the train drivers and luckily the yound couple had reserved us on a seat on the next bus to uyuni with them. without that we would have had to stay in la paz for another few days until the next bus and there is not much to see in the city. Had a day of walking around trying to buy all your presents and have sent two packages back - not sure when they will arrive. The one day in la paz was enough and after two nights there and two days, we left at 11.00pm on an overnight trip to uyuni. the bus was pretty comfortable and the seats lay back so you could stretch out a bit and there was a reasonable amount of leg room. Had reasonable tar road for a few hours and then onto a jarring corrugated road for the rest of the trip, across a couple of running streams, across washaways in creeks, stopping for freight trains in the middle of nowhere we made it into Uyuni around 7.30am. overall not a bad trip and we did get some sleep - me with the help of a sleeping tablet. Penny had a heater outlet right at her feet which became a bit uncomfortable until we were able to get the heater turned off.
Uyuni is a little town on the edge of the salt lake area and is the main point of departure for all the trips across the salt lakes. we are staying in a little hostel for US$10 per night. not much in the town at all apart from the tourist operators who hassle you all the time for a tour and the best pizas we have had the resturant is run by a yanke who meet a local in the states and move here,he diffently has the monopoly. we have booked our trip and head off tomorrow (tuesday) morning get to San Pedro in chile on thursday aftrnoon. San Pedro is another little place and we will stay there until we head off to Salta in Argentina. We are doing the trip with the young couple (kristy and adam) and just the four of us with a driver and cook and in a landcruiser. We have changed our travel route due to road blocks on the bolivian Argentina border.
Next installment the Lagos de sal and Ataccama Dessert.