The great salt lake of Uyuni is a highlight of the trip is long overdue. Now here I am, unfortunately this is the rainy season and it is flooded.
The 4WD goe there anyway and give an idea of the depth of water on the crust of sand.
There are about 15 inches of water on the first half mile, and then the salt crust goes back a bit to have more than 2 inches of water.
With Francis, we hesitate a moment, we damn want to go too, but the bike still has miles to go. If you drive like that in water saturated with salt, the chain already worn rings and which are probably more tightly will not last long. The wheel bearings have to be beautiful so-called waterproof after 75,000 km I fear for their life if I use them in, especially as the dust covers are not waterproof at all either. And then there is all the electrical connections is well exposed.
In short, we consider that it would not be serious, but even when I start to turn a tiny, no stress. I vowed to ride on the Salar de Uyuni motorcycle. Done.
In Argentina, I met Pit, an American bike. He's back to Uyuni. It is a motorcycle rental for a month, and the constraints that we are not the same. It is starteddirectly, but once in the middle of the lake, the guides told him that 4x4 will turn back because the other side of the lake there are over one meter deep. We can ride on the lake but not cross it today. Every day is different. The lake dries very quickly and at lower storm is 5 to 10cm of water and more.
When we find him after his escape, we say that we did well not to start, so salt is everywhere, clogging the radiator, exhaust outlets, entering switches, etc. ...!
yes but still, it would go where it's shallow to enjoy the hudge White Lake. So here we go on foot, leaving the bike dry.
and passed the first kilometer walk, the water is almost at the level of salt.
Francis is happy and me too. This hudge white is always moving and carries an incredible energy.
Back to dry with a sunburn (at 3800m altitude, the sun is very little filtered!) To wash the bike with fresh water, and a first llama steak.
... and take the road directly to Potosi, the highest city in the world.
The first mile is a superb track altitude, pleasant in the rock that winds along the Andes, with its unique light.
Then it's tar that allows us to move faster ... but not enough to reach the city before tyhe night. I suggested we stop in a small village en route. There are always basic accommodation possible. This time, the few rooms are mainly occupied by the workmen resurfacing the road in the area. They dream to visit Europe. We are delighted to visit them is Bolivia. More rustic accommodation for a pittance, with no running water, but at least it is 100% authentic. I feel good.
Bolivians are not very expressive. Tourists are part of the entourage and not seem to generate more interest than trees. So, it is quite difficult to have rich communication with them. The bike draws some curiosity anyway.
We start early and decide tohave a breakfast by a river. By the time the water boils, a Bolivian crosses the river and came straight toward us. We were not accustomed to such direct behaviour, and we appreciate this opportunity. Arriving at us it is reaching out directly, but not to shake our hands. He has two apples in his hand for us, and we offer with pleasure tea, cheese, bread and jam from our breakfast. Just simple things, but give us good energy for the day.
We need this positive energy there when we arrived in Potosi. It is accessed by low slums, and the higher up towards the center ... do not get any more;) The interest of the city lies in its mine that killed so many thousands of workers, not because of terrible accidents, but because of the insane working conditions. And that yet the number of volunteers to come and work here always increases it seems. Ironic, no?
A few drops of rain charged dust make the air bitter, and the road slippery. A friendly drunk Potosi guy, who is asked the direction of the tourist office, explained that the mine can not be seen today because it's Sunday. It is too much. This town stinks death. I don't feel well. I want to go outof there. On one side the energy of the Uyuni Salar charges you, on theother side, I feel dull inspire tar is deposited on my mood, and the wind exhale positive energy that I could keep. Francis did not insist to stay either, so we turne back, without even getting off the bike. Oruro direction.
The road is superb and makes us forget the bad energy of Potosi.
The countryside is beautiful, but the villages empty.
The rural exodus is clearly in vogue.
Arrived late after noon to Oruro, the first impression is not great. Wecan find a room with garage in front of the bus terminal. The railway stations and bus have always in common to gather the people ... that we would not want asason inlaw. We're anyway going for a walk in the center and there, on the contrary, it is a celebration in the streets. It prepares the carnival and it's kind of great dress rehearsal. The groups of dancers and musicians come from throughout the area to travel around the streets with fanfare.
The carnival is it seems great, but with a lot of people. We are happy to simply enjoy the good mood.
Good night and continue our express journey in Bolivia. I was already there 7 years ago, it is the rainy season, and in theory, I return to work within a month. Francis also has an important appointment with her son in the United States, and should not drag either. We go straight to west, to La Paz, the highest capital of the world.
The outskirts of capital cities are generally uninviting. La Paz is no exception. Congestion, dust ... Time to refuel and it roars to Copacabana, a small tourist village that gave its name to the Brazilian beach.
Along the way, a little hollow, and it stops at random at the first village to come.
Luckily, the village is home to the largest Inca ruins in Bolivia.
A visit is necessary.
It seems that this is the gate of the sun at this site that inspired Hergé Tintin.
Finally, at night, we reach Copacabana. The route proposed by the GPS through a few kilometers in Peru. Francis passport is almost full, and as he still has many countroes to cross, he isforced to make a detour of 200 km to avoid the stamps and keep buffer blank pages. It seems that travelers have made back at the border because it was not enough room on their passports. It's a hard life of a great traveler!
Copacabana is hyper tourism. But at the edge of Lake Titicaca, the highest lake in the world (3800 meters), I feel good. In high season it might be different. Quiet here for two days to update the blog very late, and start looking for accommodation for my return to France ...
Tomorrow Peruis waitingfor us. Us? Yes, well, I realize that with Francis, we preferred to go to Uyuni together, and I see that across the country we are still together. It is obvious bedfellows.