Bolivia “We are working on it”
After visiting the dinosaur track in Valley de Marágua we drove back to the main road (route 6) towards Oruro. After 10 kilometers we decided to look for a gas station on the map, but there was not gonna be a gas station before Oruro. Instead of taking a change hoping, that one of the locals would sell gas at the side of the road, we decided to turn around. We drove the 24 km back to Sucre to fill up gasoline, and when we finally we heading in the direction towards Oruro we had spend 2 hours. Everything just takes longer here in South America, and Bolivia is no exception.
Sucre between the mountains
We bought a little bit of food in the side of the road, and it is one of the cheapest places to buy it. Usually you can find fruit, vegetables and eggs. Back on the road we reached the pay station AGAIN, two hours later, but this time our tank was almost full.
This was the road, that was ahead of us
The distance to Oruro was “just” 350 km, but with that road we were pretty sure, that we were not gonna make it today
The road also lead through several smaller towns, making it slow going
The kids were off school, so it was ice cream and candy time
Life is different here, and the living conditions for the children would in many ways be unacceptable in the Western world. Here two smaller kids are just sitting in the side of the road (yes, this road is a highway). They are probably waiting for their parents. In the right picture the children are having fun sledding down a mount of dirt. In general the children looks happy, on the other hand this is the only world they have seen.
While driving in 4000 meters we met two women waiting for a ride out in the middle of nowhere. It was cold so we decided to pick them up. They were teaches here in Bolivia. They lived in Potosi, but from Monday to Friday (Yes, it was Friday), they are teaching at a school in a remote area. There are no road leading to the school, so first they travel by public transportation, and them they have to walk for 3 hours to get to the small village. There are two classes for the children (age 4-12), one the for smaller children and one for the bigger children. The two women are the only teaches and they have to teach all the different classes fx music, Spanish, science, biologi, sociology, sport etc. Since the school is remotely located, the two women live at the school in the small village from Monday to Friday, then they travel back to Potosí to spend the weekend with their husbands. If you have a long commute to work, then just think about how these two women.
We loved to hear about the two women’s live as teaches here in Bolivia. Also the majority of the women in Bolivia is a part of the workforce. A lot has happened with Bolivia the last 10-20 years, and to be able to support a family the women have to work. Also a lot has happened with the roads here in Bolivia, just 10 years ago only a few road were paved. Now they are really working on it! The road conditions have really improved, and we will describe them as really good. They are still working on paving the road, but them have already come a long way. So once again we got slowed down.
It was getting late, while trying not to hit the running donkey and the herd of sheep, we were looking for a place to wild camp
During the work of paving the roads, some places the old road have been replaced by a new piece of road. Finding a small piece of old road, can be the perfect wild camping spot. Look at the picture, the new part of the road is located higher up on the right mountain side.
The amazing moonrise. The moon was so bright, that it was like having outdoor lighting
Close up photos of the moon
Back on the road the next morning it was cold as we climb over one of the passes in more than 4000 meters
Lots of llamas in the area
Reaching a villages out in the mountains. This was one of those villages, that has been built by the mining company (right picture). Mining in Bolivia has been a dominant feature of the Bolivian economy as well as Bolivian politics since 1557. Tin mining supplanted silver by the twentieth century and the central element of Bolivian mining. By 1985, however, the production of every significant mineral in the country had failed to exceed the output registered in 1975. Moreover, the international tin market crashed in 1985. The crisis of 1985 prompted emergency economic measures by the government, including massive layoffs of miners. The twenty-first century has seen a recovery and expansion of the mining sector, and the government of Evo Morales has re-nationalized several facilities. However, as of 2010 mining in Bolivia is primarily in private hands, while the vast majority of miners work in cooperatives. As of 2011, Bolivia is the world’s sixth largest producer of tin. Gold production represents 2,2% of the Bolivian economy. Zinc represents 13% and tin represents 5% of the country’s economy. These three major products of the Bolivian mining industry are listed among those produced by child labor (children younger than 14 years old) in the 2014. Our guide Antonio, who took us into one of the mines of Potosí, worked in the mine when he was 14-19 years old.
Slowed down once again, when another village had a fun run, closing of the main road
Passing by a lake, which once have had swan paddle boats – it seams like, that maintenance is not a big thing here in Bolivia
We finally are reached Oruro around lunch time, and stopped at the local mercado
Lunch time – yes, it is a jaw from a sheep!
Esben was not happy about his choice of lunch… so after lunch he tried a dish called Charquekan with llama meat. Charquekan is a dish typical of Oruro. It consists of meat (beef or llama) finely chopped and dried by exposure to the sun with salt, served with fresh cow cheese (quesillo), potatoes cooked in their skins, hominy and llajwa (Bolivian hot sauce). The result was the same, he was not happy. We would describe the taste as greasy fur. So after two disastrous lunches, we went for a snack (Source: https://info.handicraft-bolivia.com/Oruro-Charquekan-a103).
We bought a few groceries, and were ready to leave Oruro. Oruro is half way between La Paz and Sucre, so hopefully we would reach La Paz tomorrow. Oruro is a mining city, it was founded in 1606 as a silver-mining center, and today its economy is still based on the mining industry. Oruro is famous for its “Carneval de Oruro”, but it is in February, and you can go on a mine tour. Check out our mine tour in Potosí here: “Going underground into the mines of Potosí”.
Since we visited the dinosaur track our garbage has been pilling up in the van. Here in Bolivia the garbage system is not working in a lot of places, and we really try not to leave our garbage, so that it will end up in the nature. We never throw any garbage, not even our used toilet paper “Pack it in – Pack it out”.
Driving out of Oruro looking for a dumpster, but we didn’t find any
When we left Oruro it was late in the afternoon (the van was still full of trash), and we found a wild camp on www.ioverlander.com for the night. Not the prettiest spot, but it will have to do for the night, and since it was dry, we could park in the pit without getting struck, so we were sheltered from the wind.
Watching the sunset – love living a life on the road