Sometimes it’s nice to fill up with gas when you arrive so you have a clean getaway the next day. Sometimes, when you don’t know where you’re staying and the town looks lousy you don’t have time for it. So this morning it’s off for gas in the funniest place in South America to do this – Bolivia. Into a muddy line-up we go
We don’t get turned down. There’s about a 20% chance of this. The rest of the time you just pay about a 150% premium over the pump price. They’re supposed to fill out an invoice when they sell to a non-native, but occasionally they don’t and the attendant just pockets the premium. No biggee. And we’re off
If you have any concerns about your future health, don’t ride a moto around South America. Sometimes you get stuck behind multiple smoky trucks, like today. I seem to have developed a strange sense of humor because day-starts in Bolivia make me laugh
Into the country. Trucks and cars get charged a toll even if it’s a goat track. They also serve as a check-point for police who keep very busy looking into the back of trucks. We’ve only been stopped once and that was just for a bike chat
And then a funny thing – coming the other way is a solo rider. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen anyone and by the looks of things he can’t either because we stop, pull the maps out and de-brief each other on what’s ahead of each other for an hour
He’s Stephan from Germany on a 6 week tour of Bolivia and Peru. He’s come from the Salar and has bad news for me (although not wholly), but not for him – he’s made it through the Lagunas route but the rains have started down there. He’s a very experienced long distance rider. More on this tomorrow.
And into Potosi. The picture shows mining tailings because that’s what Potosi is all about and has been for hundreds of years.
A video of riding into the town to the left (click, enlarge, click HD). A tour of what was once for a moment the biggest and wealthiest town in the world (really, Potosi), lots of Bolivians, a statue of a local famous futbol player and Lucinda wisely backing off a shoving match with a couple of punks in a rice-rocket at the end.