The first leg
La Quiaca Travel Blog› entry 2 of 21 › view all entries
The first leg of the road trip was a 27 hour bus ride from Buenos Aires to La Quiaca. Surprisingly, the bus ride went pretty quick.. probably because neither my travel partner or I are carrying a watch right now which meant we had no conception of time. After about 7 hours and 2 mate rounds, we opened up a bottle of Fernet to help us get to sleep.. As Tre (my travel parter) was making himself a beverage on the bumby road, he spilled a large amount of fernet on his white shirt. Oddly enough the resultant gigantic brownish stain has the shap of South America!! This is before the change in altitude started affecting us so I assure you all that it was not a hallucination. I woke this morning still on the bus to find that the landscape had changed completely. We had arrived to the mountainous northwestern region of Jujuy. The peculiar feature of the landscape that one quickly notices is the color of the mountains.. it is difficult to believe, but the mountains are more coloruful than ever imagined, with shades of blue, green, purple, yellow, red, and orange!! The villages that we passed are craddled by these mountains and had a very indigenous feel to them. Unlike the shantees that surround Buenos Aires.. these villages, although poor, seemed very safe and welcoming.
We finally arrived to La Quiaca.. a dusty pueblo on the Argentine-Bolivian border. We dismounted our bus and then tried to run as fast we could accross the border to try to catch a train that was leaving about 15 minutes later in Villazón, Bolivia. We quickly realized that there is an altitude differnce here, which made it difficult to move and think. Getting the Argentine and Bolivian customs was pretty easy because there were so many people trying to get into Argentina than trying to get out. The Bolivians formed a long hormiga-like line that streched pretty far. Once we crossed to Villazón, we easily found the bus terminal and purchased our bus tickets to la Paz after missing the train. Bus tickets were cheap as we expected.. 19 hour bus ride for about $17 USD!! It is about time to climb the bus so I am off to find coca leaves to help getting used to the altitude of La Paz, the highest capital city in the world!!
Llegè sin problemas a mi primer destino... La Quica!! Como me dijeron, es bastante feo.. sin embargo la gente era muy amable y nos ayudó a encontrar la frontera boliviana. Como sabíamos, ibamos a llegar 30 minutos ante de que saldría el tren. Nos bejamos del micro y fuimos corriendo.. Llegemos a la frontera y conseguimos los sellos necesarios para nuestros pasaportes. Sin embargo, no pudimos llegar a la estación de tren a tiempo entonces tenemos que ir en micro... 19 horas mas!! La altura me está empezando a afectar un poco y es más dificil pensar y correr.. sin embargo, vamos subiendo temprano para que podamos acostombrarnos a la altura. Me tengo que ir por ahora.. gracias Norma por el sandwich de milanesa.. estuvo muy bueno!!