For the record, I have made it safely into Bolivia. I´ve yet to find reliable wifi, so I haven´t been able to get a good blog post up. Right now I´m in La Paz. Yesterday I went on a popular tour, which is to ride mountainbikes down the ¨world´s most dangerous road.¨ It is 3600m of descent in three hours. I´ll have some pictures up when I get to a good connection. They built a new road that serves the same route three years ago, but when this was the only road 100 people died on it a year. Or so the literature claims. That works out to one person every four days. Crazy.
Riding down the road you could certainly believe it. I´ll try and get the pictures up asap. You would be riding down a road covered with loose rocks, like a logging road, enormous cliff face on your right, a drop over a precipice into clouds on your left. The closest thing to a guardrail was all the crosses lining the road marking places cars had gone off. It wasn´t really raining, but there were parts where you were in the clouds and it felt like you were riding through a mister. I thought I was going to lose my contacts because of all the water. There were orchids growing on the side of the road, butterflies with dusty electric blue wings the size of your palm threatening to smack into your face at any moment, obscuring your vision and send you plummeting to a powdery blue doom. We also had to ride through waterfalls and streams. I was also one of the slowest people going down. I would like to claim that it was because I have ridden on logging roads before and know how easy it is to crash, not to mention that tourists die biking on the road or end up in the hospital with accidents, and that could be what it was. But I may just be a coward.
Crossing the Salar de Uyuni (the route I took to get into Bolivia a week or so ago) was also incredible. We got as high as 4800m. I was able to get some of those pictures up on picasa. Before La Paz I was in a Potosi, which is famous for its mines, and took a mine tour that was terrifying. The mine I was in was 475 years old, dug originally by African and Indian slaves. I got to blow up some dynamite. Our guide was throwing it on the ground to show it was stable and lighting the stick on fire to show you needed the detonator for it to expode. I was cautiously inching backwards. I took a video it going off, though, which I will post when I find wifi. Kids can also buy dynamite. They sell it on the street.
I´ll have more, including updates all the way back to new year´s eve and the desert, once I get a decent wifi connection. Oh let it be soon...