Stuck in Sucre!May 5 in Bolivia
It was a long drive from Sajama NP so we found a mirador to spend the night, and in the morning we headed into Potosí. This was once the richest city in the world, but there is a little sign of that now. The famous mountain that is riddled with mines still towers over the town, but after the nerve racking tour last time (with individual miners randomly setting off dynamite with no warning) we decided not to chance our luck again. In fact there wasn't a lot to keep us in the city so we headed along the road towards Sucre.
We had just set up camp and had a brew on when we got a message warning us of protests in Sucre and that they were blocking all roads in the morning, so we broke the overlanding rule of not driving at night and after a few hours arrived at the only camp spot in town and fortunately we could just about squeeze in. The protests were due to el Presidente Evo Morales deciding to change the ownership of a huge gas field from this state to a neighbouring one - almost definitely due to his fight to remove the presidential term limit - and so we didn't blame the city for taking a stand.
Its a lovely city full of delicious places to eat and a fantastic food market so we had no problems whiling away a few days, although it was frustrating we couldn't do a tour with Condortrekkers, the sister organisation to the one we volunteered at, or visit the famous dinosaur footprints. In fact we would have happily stayed a few more days but on Sunday we were told it was our best chance of getting out of the city otherwise we could be stuck for another week or more, and we only had about 10 days left on our visa.
So a convoy of 5 different shaped rigs tried to work our way out of town. Fortunately there was a French couple who spoke really good Spanish at the front, and they got us through 5 major roadblocks via a variety of techniques (bumping over major curbs, buying chicken from a drunk truck owners wife, sweet talking, and bribing with a bottle of wine). In fact the blockaders and the supporting people were not at all aggressive to us and knew that a bunch of gringos caught up in this did little to help their cause, but finding the truck drivers to move their vehicles took some effort and it took us over 2 hours to get 10km out of the city. Our little convoy then group camped on a mirador and it ended up being quite a fun experience.
The next day we were back in Potosí getting a vet certificate for Maya so we could get papers to 'export' her - bloody ridiculous when we just drove over the border without any questions when we came into the country.Read more