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New Photos and a Brief (I think) Update

Hello all. I have not gotten my massive, descriptive blog entry ready for posting but I though that I'd fill you in on a little bit of what I've been doing.

Two sets of new photos posted

Also, if you haven’t already, please visit my Heifer International gift registry and help bring chimneys to Peru!! Thank you!!

Having given up riding for Bolivia due to altitude I decided to take some side trips. The Salar de Uyuni was a fantastic journey into the largest salt lake in the world. During the dry season, which is now, there is no water on it, but that is a good thing as we got three flat tires. Imagine how that would be in a few centimeters of water. Just last week they had a snowstorm out there with people being left at the border without food, jeeps turning over, and drivers not being able to see where they are going. I'm glad I went the week before!!

I left my gear in Uyuni and went light for about a week and traveled to Sucre which is just a wonderful city to hang out in. I saw the dinosaur footprints that were discovered at at cement factroy and are the largest collection of footprints of different species in the world. Are you noticing a trend here? Largest, highest - Bolivia has a lot of very cool things but the Bolivian people are very, very poor - at least most of them.

After chilling in Sucre for a few days I retraced my steps and visited Potosi. I have to admit that I was museumed out but did go on a tour of the mines - which is one of the main attractions in Potosi. It was a little weird seeing these men push three quarter ton carts filled with ore through the mines. They do this 10 times a day over a distance of 3 km to and from the drop off point. The conditions aren't very safe either - ladders go up and down all over the place with only a "watch the hole" to warn you. I went becasue my grandfather was a coal miner. Well, I also went because I wanted to.

The bumpy ride back to Uyuni was delayed by a day by a nationwide traffic strike so I ate my way through the day with a nice English couple, John and Lucy. It was fun. The ride back to Uyuni was pretty miserable without the nice Frenchman and his family to talk with so I amused myself by watching a woman from Buenos Aires harass the Amayran woman sitting in the aisle. The woman in the aisle was leaning on the woman on the seat which would have annoyed me too, but I probably would have grunted and made gestures and asked her to move a little bit. This woman, who even speaks Spanish, just kept shoving her packpack into the woman. It was really quite sad and I periodically glared at the woman in the seat. Wimpy, I know. Sitting in the aisles is illegal too.

The I arrived back in Uyuni, which at that point didn't have any power due, most likely, to the high winds blowing over a pole somewhere, bought a train ticket for a 2:30am (!!!) train and settled down at the Minuteman restaurant (run by a fellow American and a wonderful place to get delicious pizza, cookies, cakes and to have some good company for a few hours). While there I met Catherine (from Copacabana), Emma and a few others and we traded Salar stories and kept each other awake while waiting for the train. When the Minuteman closed we headed to the dark station to wait out the next three hours. I think we all fell asleep with out heads on the table. Emma ended up in a sleeping bag on the floor.

The train ride to the border had some great views (when I finally woke up at about 6:30 when they turned the tv on at high volumn). Once we arrived at the border town of Villazon, I collected my crap off of the train - yet again the bike made it safely and Emma and I headed to the border of Bolivia and Argentina. We breezed through leaving Bolivia, but it took 3.5 hours to get into Argentina. We could not figure out why, but we think that the immigrations guards took a siesta. The border is supposed to be open all day, but I guess you are not going to hassle an immigrations officer. When I finally got to the window I was laughing as I though that they, like all other immigrations officials here, felt the need to cram another stamp onto the only two pages with stamps on it (they actually didn't) but the official was very creepy and made fun of me laughing. Whatever. I'm in Argentina now with 90 days.

There is an immediately different feel in La Quiaca - the building are made of brick and concrete, there are stores with things in them, the bread is different, breakfast is crackers and jam, dinner is really after 8pm.

My first two days of riding have been great. I am now in a little town called Humahuaca after riding about 82km downhill, but against the wind for much of the afternoon. I found the internet cafe, uploaded pictures, did a little update and now my friend, I am going to drink a well deserved beer!

Take care.

Comments

Ahem Nif,

Doesnt somebody deserve some credit here.People being stuck at the border with no food,jeeps turning over etc etc haha!!!!
Oh i nearly forgot after you mentioned you hadnt found any bandanas in South America ive found loads since you left La Paz,typical eh.
Hope you enjoyed that deserved beer and have fun in Argentina.Hopefully i will be there at the beginning of October.

Reece

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