Crossing the first border

Trip Start Oct 29, 2009
Trip End Jan 26, 2010

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Sunday, November 1, 2009

Early start for us on the road by 6.30 am, and we thought we had given up early mornings for a long holiday!  As the newbies in the group we ended up in the worst seats with no window you  open and with no air con you need one (but we learn quickly).

We went through some lovely countryside leaving Argentina and for a while we played spot the llama until the novelty wore off at the endless herds along the way.  We thought it was going to be a pretty straightforward journey but we didnīt anticipate our next drama which happened at the Bolivian border.   We were waiting in line to leave Argentina when we realised we had lost one of the group, there was some minor panic as she had been seen leaving the toilets in the car park below but then never rejoined the group - maybe too many of us had been reading a little too much about what can go wrong!!  After a half hour search she wanders back from across the Bolivian border wondering whats wrong - she had managed to bypass the group (and most of the Argentinian and Bolivian border people) and cross without passport or questions - everyone was very relieved - most of all her husband.

Once in Bolivia the roads took a turn for the worse, it would be an understatement to say that Bolivian Highway No 1 is in need of a bit of improvement.  For the next 4 hours to Tupiza we were on dirt track road, following temptingly alongside the construction of the new Highway No 1 (our driver said judging by how long it had been going on it should be finished by 2056) should be finished - this was the bumpiest journey we have ever taken but it was going to prove to be the start of three days of roads much much worse!!  Bolivian countryside is all we saw for the afternoon, if you imagine a John Wayne movie - all sandy mountains, scrubby bush and cactus that pretty much sums things up, although occasionally interspersed with some nice scenery and green oasis like areas with tall thin Tuscan trees (and of course the llamas), 

We arrived in Tupiza but sadly it was just a stop over and although this town is reportedly the last resting place of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid we didnīt get to spend any time here and only saw the inside of an Italian restaurant.  For the first time the altitude was starting to effect people as we had reached the first high spot at about 10,500 feet and there were one or two complaints of headaches.  Tomorrow off to Potosi.
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