Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 42 - Potosi - La Paz

Distance travelled (by bike): 5050

Matt's Birthday - A long day on the bike, setting off the plan was to get to Oruno and have lunch. The road was tarmac, we were making really good time, until we got to Oruno. On approaching the town we spotted a huge tailback of stationary vehicles, wiggling through the stationary traffic we soon found the root of the problem, strikes. From what i understood the taxi, bus and truck drivers were upset with the government about some taxes, so they took action and blockaded the whole town. Luckily been on the bike we drove through, over and round most obstacles, having no problem with us the larger blockades were dismantled to let us through, only once in 15km did we have trouble, even then the majority stepped in and sent us on our way. Driving through Oruno was as i imagine post war. The whole town was walking, no traffic was moving it had a slightly eerie feel. That been that we decided that lunch could wait and drove on. 
After lunch as we sped on to La Paz, i get a tapping on the shoulder and various hand signals from Shane, pulling over i discover that the dry bag with shane's stuff in which was strapped to the pannier is not longer there, just shredded plastic. Backtracking about 5 miles we see clothes and paper littering the road, after a through clean up we seem certain we have 100% of the bags contents. Turns out we were wrong!
La Paz…its a big city that's is quite amazing. The drive into the centre sees the road drop approx. 500m. The centre is compact and a nightmare. One way hell. Having got lost with no real idea where we were going shane collared a tourist, looking rough and fed up the gave him their map. Problem solved. After a few highly illegal manoeuvres we were going in the right direction. Eventually we found a place to stay, with parking, which is not easy. Wandering around La Paz we bump into the same english girls we did the salt flats tour with, they tell us they are mountain biking down death road tomorrow, we inform them that we're riding up death road tomorrow and i won't be moving over. Agreed that we should meet for beers after the excursion. Shane has decided to climb a mountain, and as luck has it met a mountaineer.

the ripped bag

driving through some the carnage (where it was safe to take out camera)

the queues outside town

the towns sculpture!

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