It’s time for a “monthly” update again. This one is written from Loki Hostel, a little haven of Irishness in La Paz. Osgur, Siobhan and Abril and all of the freindly staff welcomed us with open arms, toasted cheese sandwiches, bottled Guinness(drool) and comfy beds and our first hot shower in over two weeks. They even threw a table quiz to raise money for Aware in our honour. For which we are eternally grateful.
Since leaving the city of Salta and climbing into the Andés it has been the best of times and the worst of times. We enjoyed a gentle introduction to high altitude, acclimatising like good boys and girls as the road wound 200km up a valley floor in Northern Argentina. We crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, our first longtitudinal landmark , the next one will be the equator in Ecaudor in a few month’s time.
February is carnival time in South America and we managed to squeeze in some of the festivities en route. When we arrived in the Argentine town of Humahuaca they were celebrating the feast of the Virgin de la Candelaria with a bizarre procession captured in the latter segment of the video below.
We crossed into Bolivia in early February at the border town of Villazon. We were immediately introduced to the unsealed Bolivian roads which would prove our nemesis for the coming weeks, as the asphalt stopped at the town’s limits and the gravel begin. Our speed decreased and our daily distance became embarrassing as we dragged our sorry souls into town after dark on several occasions.
After much ado we reached Uyuni and were knocked out by a particularly musical strain of food poisoning before seeing some spectacular natural sights and crossing the Salt Flats in various states of undress. At the town of Salinas we were plied with hooch and press ganged into dancing around the dusty square in the annual Carnival parade, then we made freinds with some frenchies going our way and all five of us spent 5 days wandering blindly around the near deserted Altiplano after taking the wrong turn. Which was fun.
With the first leg of South America behind us we say farewell to Marina who’s road from Buenos Aires ends over two and a half thousand km later here at La Paz. Simon and I are re-charging batteries and looking forward to the visit of Si’s folks and my mum over the next few weeks. Then its back to business as we welcome Emma the next revolutionary who’ll join us in Cuzco. Emma has been blogging her preparations here.
After the dismal roads from the Bolivian border it feels like we have a period of respite until Cuzco, and both myself and Si are quite relaxed about the road until then. We’re still pouring over route options in Asia, with recent unrest in China, and the cordoning off of Tibet seriously cutting down on the options for a continuous run home with a bitter winter to the North and uncertainty to the South we are not left with great options. Either way though we’ll find a way.