Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Road to Potosi - 3

Thursday 10th July

The day starts easy enough on steady gradients and we make good time helped by directions from the cutest little girl perched on a rock...



The plain becomes sodden and we cross a river just before Chaquilla....



We decide to stop for an extended lunch in Chaquilla, which seems to be the base for most of the road working crews. We meet Miguel and Rolli, the crew boss, who according to Miguel is an illegal immigrant who should be taken away in handcuffs.... Osca, is an entertainer and clearly a music fan....



They all decide we really shouldn´t be cycling here without a bunch of coca leaves to ease the symptoms of altitude, and dish out huge wads from bulging carrier bags. Their bulging cheeks and red eyes explain their levity, and perhaps some of the slow progress on the road... But who are we to argue as we stash our booty.

Leaving town we come across the colourful scene of a washing party cleaning blankets in the river, right in front of the sign prohibiting just such... It´s a cheerful whole family affair as they struggle with with freezing cold water...



Then the climb begins again. And it´s a cracker...



Dani playing in the sand...



As we leave the valley and climb in to the next....



We again meet Rolli and Miguel hard at work. Note bulging cheeks...



We make camp in the shelter of a power distribution plant...



It´s the highest camp so far at 4200 metres and breath is hurried as we pitch tents. Get the candles on - it´s gonna be another cold one...

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