Monday, June 8, 2009

Uyuni - Sucre ... lots of rest

While in Uyuni we had a trip out to the train cemetry. They really should have just called it the train dump. Many of the trains had graffiti sprayed on them which were quite amusing, Einstein equations, ex-President Bush quotes (always funny) and our favourite was simply "No mas chu-chu" (no more choo-choo).

After hearing of a couple cycling the road from Uyuni to Potosi we decided to take the bus. The couple had managed just 100kms in four days on the road. It is in very bad condition and roadworks along the way don´t help. The bus ride itself still took 7 hours for just 275kms (180 miles) and our bottoms were numb when we arrived from all the bumps and bouncing.
Luckily the bikes survived in their baggage compartment.
Once in Potosi we found a nice hostel with a TV in the room and we basically slept, ate and watched TV for 5 days. The occassional venture out was only to find more chocolate, biscuits and cake.
We did manage to find time to take a photo of the hill behind the town. Cerro Rico was once stuffed full of silver which was mined out over the last few hundred years. Potosi was once the richest and biggest city in all the Americas, now it is just another dump. People still mine the hill for tin in appalling conditions. We chose not to go on a tour of the mines as it meant a few hours out of our warm room with no cake.
After the big rest, we cycled to Sucre. This road was paved and mainly downhill so no problems.
Lots of small villages along the way looked very poor and had huge signs of the charity they were sponsored by. We later came across a giant bridge complete with huge towers which must have cost a fortune to build, no wonder the villages remain so poor.
Sucre, the capital city of Bolivia (although many would have you believe it was La Paz) was very nice. A beautiful plaza, huge colonial buildings and churches and a giant cement factory where dinosaur footprints were found.
Again, we spent most of our time resting and watching TV. A day trip to Tarabuco took us to a huge textile and tat market. Here you could buy almost anything you wanted so long as you weren´t fussed about quality.
We thought we had seen everything until we noticed some other people taking photos of this first. A llama foetus nailed to the wall with some other dead stuff.
From Sucre we head into the jungle. The road from here is unpaved and also very bad so we have tickets for a gruelling 17 hour bus trip taking us to Santa Cruz. From there we will be cycling through the outer edges of the Amazon looking for monkeys, jaguars, caimens and tucans.
We´re very excited.