The Bolivan Bus Experience to Potosi

Sucre Travel Blog

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Well well what can i say... I AM ALIVE! We have been warned back home, overseas, by email, maybe even a few direct reverse charge calls and shown photos of the risks you take when travelling by bus in Bolivia! This i believed was all a shame to conceal the hidden beauty of Bolivia´s mountainous terrain! PEOPLE IT IS NOT A SHAM!

We left Santa Cruz headed for Sucre to connect with a bus to Potosi all up another 20 odd hour bus ride (we thought)! We were recommended a bus company to travel with that had a better reputation than the rest, ie ´We ONLY lose one bus a week over the chasm´! and were also recommended to get the front seats as the bus gets jammed packed with people standing and sleeping in the aisle for the whole trip! It was chaos, i had a 14 year boy sleeping on my shoes the entire trip, Mark had his kees around his head as he was jammed in a corner with no leg space and being a 6´3 lad this was kinda comical at first, Corey´s window did not close for the whole trip and duggo well he managed a lot better than the rest of us! I knew the trip was going to be an experience the moment the trip started as the bus left us behind and we had to literally run and jump onboard the bus whilst it was moving!

Getting out and leaving Santa Cruz was fine, we had our Ipods cranking, snacks to munch on and still paved roads but just on dusk the fun really began to begin! We started to leave the safety of paved roads and headed into altitude, ascending some 3000 metres along a windy, single lane dirt track! Lucky for me i was on the safer side and couldnt look done ointo the many deadly chasms and drop offs as well as contending with constant flow of trucks, most of them with one headlight working, roaring down the mountain and squeezing our vechicle against the cliff face! At one point during the night the driver came to a complete stop and reversed down the hill a hundred metres with a 600feet plus drop off on his left to let pass a truckful of chickens, one off his back wheels came of the cliff momentarily! There was not a sound on the bus as this occurred and the looked in the locals face made me close my eyes and think of happier times! Mark (being on the side that looked into the chasm) said he felt like he was over the cliff edge when the wheel came off and he thanks God that it was nighttime and he couldnt see the potential of the chasms depth!!! This incident inspired a poem! Well the driver managed to save the situation cause im here writing this now and we continued on! Many more times we had to stop and reverse or just stop! There wasnt much sleep to be had as the roads were similar to those of the Dukar Rally and at one point i joined the locals on the aisle floor to try and get some shut eye but to no avail. In the morning one of the boys climb over all the bodies in the aisle to go to the toilet only to find it overflowing! Apparently if you really needed to go you had to ask the driver too stop which many did, this was a comical relief for me and took my mind off the erractic drivind! When we arrived in Sucre and departed the bus i noticed that the driver was different to the original one! At one of the stops during the night he swapped over with one who had been sleeping in the cargo bay of the bus!!!! It was amazing when we got our luggage out there was our original driver sleeping on a mattress jammed in with everyones luggage underneath the bus, THAT IS THE BOLIVAN BUS EXPERIENCE! Since then we have experienced more wonders on the road, a bus rolled over and we had to stop and wait while a truck pulled it back upright and all the passengers got back on and continued their journey pretty mindblowing to witness, and the other day from potosi to uyuni where you start the salt flat tours our bus broke down in the middle of the desert at minus 15 degrees! A 6 hour trip turned into a 10 hour mission but the new experinces from the standand bumpy roads and jammed packed buses was a mother who gave us her baby to hold the entire trip pretty much! I found it hilarious because Duggo had to practically hold the baby while the mother brest fed him/her and when the bus broke down the baby pooped its pants and man the smell was amazing! MY head was out the window while duggo was nearly spewing and being in the dark with layers and layers of clothes on the changing process (which occurred on the aisle floor) took the best of 30 mins! Once done the nappy was handed too a stranger who reluctantly threw it out the window! ANOTHER NEW BUS EXPERIENCE! It has been fun and rather amusing though we often get off the bus a bit tired and grumpy and im glad i have endured and experineced this side of Bolivia! But do beware buses crash and roll often here and just last week a canadiaan girl lost her life from a bus accident near Sucre! So stay safe all and keep smiling!

ale_bastos says:
Hahahahaha... I´m getting prepared for this... Specially because I´ll be by myself... Oh, my god!
Posted on: Jun 15, 2007
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photo by: AndySD