Batallas Travel Blog› entry 3 of 8 › view all entries
Obviously we took a risk here. We had no idea where we were, how far we had to go, or if we'd ever find any onwards transportation. We exchanged e-mail addresses with David and arranged with him that if he didn't hear from us in 48 hours he would go to our embassies with our names and passport details.
We paid the taxidriver about half the agreed amount. Even though we had agreed on just paying the gasoline charges if we wouldn't make it to Tiquina, we felt sorry for him. He had a flat tyre to repair, and at least he had brought us a lot further than we had anticipated.
And so Olav and I set out on foot. It's not something either of us would have done alone, but we figured that together we'd be allright.
It was tough going at this altitude with a heavy backpack on, but fortunately the road was smooth and straight.
After about 20 minutes we came to a blockade which was piled so high that there would have been no way for the taxi to pass this. There was a large mound next to the road on which many people were sitting with rocks in hand, ready bombard any car that would pass. I was glad we had sent the taxi back.
We on the other hand were no car, but we were rather a couple of weird-looking gringos with big backpacks, who stubbornly walked past their roadblock. That did give us some of their respect, and in fact quite a few came up to us to say hello, shake our hands, and thank us for not taking a car. If only they knew...
An hour onwards we came to the next little village where we found a tiny supermarket where we were able to buy some breakfast. Neither of us had really had breakfast in the morning, and we'd given away the biscuits at the first roadblock, so we were starving.
While Olav and I were sitting outside in the sun, eating our stale buns, we were really surprised about how quiet and peaceful it was in this place. The lack of traffic on the main through road made it a much more enjoyable place and we cherished the tranquillity, the sun and the stunning views on the Andes in the distance.
Time to move on, and we set out again. Further down the road we saw quite a few cars waiting, and we thought they were part of a roadblock, but in fact they were drivers who got stuck here and couldn't go anywhere because of the roadblocks and protests.
We walked on for another hour and got to a village that was actually big enough to be named on a map: Batalles.
At the other end of the village we saw a lot of people and soldiers, and we interpreted this as the first roadblock from the other direction, so the last one for us.
When we got to the soldiers we asked them if they knew of any transportation to Tiquina. However, as friendly and helpful as everyone had been to us thusfar, so arrogant and unfriendly were these soldiers. They resolutely told us there was not a chance of transportation, as there would be more roadblocks in the next village. We had a plan B: hire or even buy some bicycles, but they said we could forget this as well. Bicycles were not for gringos...
And so we walked on, but a great deal less comfortable. The crowds were shouting and laughing at us, and not before long some kids started throwing stones at us. We had to move. A couple blocks down we came across a couple of kids who were a lot more helpful. They confirmed that there was not a chance to get a bicycle (even though everyone in this region seems to travel by bike) but they had seen a couple of taxis at the other end of the village.