Where are we?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


We loved our time in Bolivia, but it was hard after we left Freddie's in Cochabamba. This was do to rain, mud, lousy hotels, no electricity in the entire town of Uyuni, and the list goes on. Overhanging all of this was a slight brake malfunction on Jim's bike and my continuing oil leak from either my gear box or final drive.

The mechanic that was supposed to be just south of the Bolivia/Argentina border has vanished, so tomorrow Jim and I will drain the final and refill so that we know what we are dealing with.

Jim and I were pretty proud of ourselves when we took his front brake apart and fixed the problem. His brake shoe is a wreck, but that is for another day.

Enough on the mechanics of obstacles to forward motion. As we progressed from Potosi to Tapiz we got into progressively more beautiful country. This morning the red rock country reminded us of New Mexico or Arizona, only we were in a valley at almost 12000 feet. Probably the high point of the day was no rain. But the rivers were still very high and choked with Bolivia's agricultural future--mud and silt. Bring on another hundred goats.

The low point was crossing the border into Argentina. We found, what we thought was a mia corta, open only to motos, no cars. We shot down a few dusty streets and the polite cop told us to park right in front of the emigration office. Then we saw the line. There we two hundred people, mostly indigenous, waiting to go to Argentina. I got into line and told Jim I would wait the first hour.

What amazed me is how quietly all of the people waited. No grumbling, no pushing, no ill-will. I think this is really a sign of a people that have low expectations for life. After three and a half hours when we got up close to the window, I looked in to see that there was only one person processing papers. Worse yet, they had a TV with a US soap opera with Spanish translation playing in the background and kept looking over to see the action. When it was my turn, I showed papers for Jim and me, and the whole process took two minutes. If there had been an ad, I am sure there would have been a delay. The indigenous people, who were most of the crowd, actually took quite a while longer.

Once we got to the Argentina side we were whisked through in an efficient process. There was no entry fee; they only charge this to touristas coming in through airports---$130 bonus!!!!! The customs people were polite, and efficient. And then we were off; total time at border was 4 1/2 hours, 80 percent of this waiting for the soap addict in Bolivia.

New software for my GPS, so we could search for a hotel. Found one .2 miles from customs. Ahhhh, we are so done for the day.

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