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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sucre to Potosi and on to Uyuni

We have had no internet connection since leaving Sucre. And our first night in Uyuni the whole town was without electricity. The rural areas of Bolivia are just that, primitive and generally in a state of disrepair. The common explanation is that when it rains the power fails.

We left Sucre on a high note, paved road and little rain. The hope was to blow through Potosi, an old but active mining town. As we exited toward Uyuni, I noticed that a drive shaft oil leak had gotten significantly worse. We decided to return to Potosi and consider our options.

After calls to South Sound BMW and Willie our Master Bolivian BMW mechanic, I went looking for gear oil. I took three cabs in my hunt, finally securing a gallon container, the smallest volume available. I haled another cab and headed back to where I thought the hotel to be. Running low on Bolivianos, I finally paid off the driver and got out. I zigzagged Potosi for two hours before I recognized a landmark. No point telling Jim what I had done.

About six, Jim and I stepped out for a quick dinner at a vegetarian place. I was almost falling asleep from my ordeal, and I left early. I never heard Jim come in. Turns out he too got lost for about two hours. Both of us had failed to note the name of our hotel in a town where no two streets run in the same direction.

The next morning, transmission topped off, we headed for Uyuni. Beautiful paved road for all but six miles, which was fresh construction and deep mud. Having made it through we were glad that we would never see this piece of road again.

Several miles down the road we ran into Rick headed the opposite direction. He had been in Uyuni for several days and was now headed for Potosi. He suggested we turn around, but we didn't have the gas for the return, and we too wanted to see the Salar de Uyuni.

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