Friday, January 7, 2011

Coca Tea for Breakfast

We awoke in Putre to a very cold room. Unfortunately, Grif felt the need to leave the heater off! We headed for breakfast where we were staying, and surprisingly, coca tea leaves were on the menu. Lisa decided to have some to help with the altitude, Grif did not have any. Needless to say, Lisa felt great, whilst Grif did not.

We stopped at a police control point before the border and Grif made a friend! There was a local llama that would approach vehicles windows looking for hand outs. He didn't seem to mind Grif's presence.
Grif's new friend

Last look at Chile

On the way through Chile's National Park of Vicunas we saw snow capped volcanoes, big lakes with flamingos, along with vicuna and llamas. There was so much wild life activity at such a high altitude. We also saw one of the volcanos puffing out smoke/steam from a vent on the side
Volcano puffing

We arrived at the Bolivian border, and with the paperwork and photocopying, it was our longest border crossing, taking about two hours. The scenery changed. There were great big rain clouds!! We were racing to get past them! The mountains in Bolivia have a lot more color; oranges, greens and white.

Massive thunderstorm

Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America. There were small one room buildings made of mud brick, and for someone this was home.

We managed to find a place to stay in Oruro. It was late so we made our way to a street vendor, not far from our hotel, and had chicken and chips. The prices in Bolivia is a third of those in Chile, and gas, although around only 80 octane, is fifty cents a litre.

In the morning, while Grif was enlarging the hole in the air box to help Sammy breathe better over 4,000 metres, we met a guy from Sucre. We asked him about the road conditions to Potosi and Uyuni; he was very helpful. We had heard that the roads in Bolivia are very bad with lots of ruts, but he informed us that most of our desired route was paved.

We left that morning for Potosi, and the scenery was breathtaking. Riding in the Bolivian altiplano, there were fields full of llamas, high mountains and deep valleys so much grass and vegetation even though we were riding at between 3500-4300 metres.

We arrived in Potosi and hunted around for a hostel, after getting a couple of locals to help push the bike up the curb and a step we were in and time for some sightseeing and a bite to eat.

We are hopefully heading to Uyuni and to the Salt Flats tommorow......depending on how rough the piste is.

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