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South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Yungas Road
January 31st 2006
Published: February 6th 2006
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Let me begin by stating that Death Road is probably a lie - I just didn´t know where I was and thought that sounded good. Rachel and I began our day at 7am in order to be at our tour office by 8am. The other three on our tour, Gozo, Caralina, and Manuel, were also there on time. Unfortunately, the people running the office weren´t. I began to get nervous, but about 10 or 15 minutes later they did show. We eventually took off, which meant we drove to the border and waited an hour to get our passports stamped to leave Chile. We then drove an hour or so and went to get our passports stamped to get into Bolivia. We were to meet a desert type truck there and change cars in order to continue. But we ended up waiting for an hour or so. We had breakfast in this time, and oddly enough there was a marching band from Potosi, Bolivia crossing the border to go to a party in San Pedro. They played two songs and entertained us for short time. We began to get a bit annoyed because we were wasting the entire morning, and although we had come from the dry desert, we would be spending the day in the altiplano, where cold and rain were the norm, especially in the afternoon. So we were hoping to see some sites before the weather hit.

The truck did eventually meet us, and we had to pay an unknown park fee, where we got ripped on the exchange rate, but in the end it was fine. The first main stop was Laguna Blanco and Laguna Verde, aka the white and green lagoons. At first, they looked the same as any other water. Our guide told us that once the wind started up, the minerals in the water would change the lakes to their respective colors. I was highly skeptical, since there was no wind and our guide/driver then got our some tools and started tinkering with the engine. It seemed a slow death for sure. But true to his word, the wind came from the other side of the lake, and we watched it turn green before our very eyes. Even greener in my polarized sunglasses. The white lake actually started to turn white, but we took off after that. We drove a lot that day between dstinations, and there were snow covered mountains and volcanoes all around. It was beautiful.

There were some hot springs we stopped at, but we decided not to go in, as there were some young guys standing around and we could foresee the leering that we would most likely be involved with. We then stopped for lunch at a most unfortunate lodge kind of place that they are still building, I think. Unattractive and smelly, but near the next lake.

We ended up at Laguna Colorada, which means red. So there's no way this water is going to be red, right? Wrong. It was actually pink, but it was beautiful. Now to this picture add flamingos. They were all throughout these lakes, but looked especially impressive in the pink lake. It was really wonderful. Even more amazing was the weather - it was cold, and we had two rainstorms on either side of us, so close we could hear the thunder and see the lightening. But it didn't rain on us. Amazing.

We finally stopped to see some geysers, which turned out to be more of a steady flow of hot air coming out of holes in the ground. But it was very impressive. Boiling mud pots all around and a creepy howling sound as the steam poured out.

We then drove back to Chile, with two more stamps in the passport. Rachel, daredevil that she is, wouldn´t be satisfied with this, so we left her in Bolivia and she stayed the night and rode her bike back to Chile in the morning. Mountainous, but mostly downhill anyway. The rest of us had some nice conversations and passed the time entertaining ourselves. We were really lucky to have such a nice group of people.

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8th February 2006

thanks
8th February 2006

thanks
WOW_You and your trip sounds awesome. Thank you for including me in your blog- i am learning so much and enjoying it immensely. You are my hero- a true adventurer. I jusr returned from Florida- helping my parents out- I never saw the outside or felt the sun- but that wasn,t the plan- everything else is OK- boring- boring so I truly look forward to your trip!!!!Keep up thr good work and marching forward

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