Wednesday, July 9, 2008

To Bolivia - 6

Saturday 28th

We awake again in another road side camp and wait for the sun to melt ice from tents. I spent an uncomfortable night in a sleeping back with a 2 litre water bottle and contact a lens case! I have had better bedfellows in the past, but at least this morning I can have coffee and eyesight!

It´s an easy 5kms to La Quiaca at the border. Signs give more chances for cheesy posing. I think Dani was suffering from altitude sickness for this one...



5121kms the long, beautiful, enchanting road back to Ushuaia....



Preparing to cross the border on a bike loaded down with Argentine fodder...



The crossing is simple and the border guards are so friendly I get a good feeling towards Bolivia before my tyres even touch their ground.

We meet Michael at the train station and say farewell. He needs to make up time as a change of plan back home forces him to cut his tour. Short of time he takes to diesel power to cover as much of Bolivia as possible. Suerte Amigo - it was great to ride with you and roll with the good times. Until the horseshoe gang re-unites, Hasta luego!



First impressions of Villazon, the Bolivian border town is.... chaos. It´s a kaleidoscope of colourful movement and the eyes strain with the effort of taking it all in...



Commerce, noise, traffic and activity are everywhere and it´s a far cry from the sleepy siesta world of Argentina we have just left behind. People´s garb has changed and traditional dress is common, the women wearing wide skirts, long black plaits, colourful mantas and bowler hats. Somehow it lacks the threat of some frontera towns - people smile and are approachable, but we are cyclists on a mission. We change some Argentine pesos to Bolivianos and quickly leave the madness....

Riding out of town, tarmac lasts about 1km and then we are on to some of the worst ripio on tour so far. I had been warned, but...

Dust, sand, potholes, ripples, rocks and steep, steep inclines - Bolivian riding is going to be fun!



The view back down to Villazon and Argentina...



We make a dusty camp on frozen ground and celebrate a first cold, cold night in Bolivia.