Road to Sucre - Bus day

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Where I stayed
Colon - 110 Bs double with bathroom, tv, breakfast - Excellent

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Sunday, March 23, 2008

Having breakfast in Bolivia on Easter Sunday is a bit of a challenge but we managed it:
- wake the owner of the hostel up at 8am
- get the cook to go to buy bread
- get them to work the coffee machine
- get them to find butter and marmelade
It was tough but we managed it after 1 hour of waiting.
We then walked to the Tupiza bus station with Valerie who was staying for another day and we will probably not bump into again as she has 2 months to do Boilivia and Peru while we are cruising towards Costa Rica.
The bus station is a very interesting place, alive, just like a "transport market" with about 20 different agencies going to the same places and shouting their destinations, and loads of food sellers (tamales, ice cream, drinks, etc).
With an "unacceptable" 5 minute delay our bus arrived and we rushed inside as we know there is often overbooking or people just sitting anywehere instead of their designed seats, or even worse locals with huge packs of stuff occupying everything.

Even though there was a 30 min stop on the way we packed sufficient food to keep us going for the 7 hour trip to Potosi, plus an additional 3 hours more from Potosi to Sucre.

One thing is for certain, the roads are impressive (curves, cliffs, narrow areas and loads of dust) but he bus was good and the driver fast but safe. We have made it a target to travel in Bolivia by day as:
a: It is safer on the roads as the drivers dont get sleepy
b: Bolivian truck drivers are known for their alcohol love
c: Night buses tend to suffer more robberies of ruck sacks, etc

So we have engineered our buses to always be morning ones even if it means doing a few kilometres more or staying overnight in less attractive places. However up to now everything has worked real well.

We arrived at Potosi (the highest capital in the world) at 5.20 pm and just mnanaged to get onto the Sucre bus at 5.30pm (after rushing to make a phonecall to a hostel in Sucre and buying a packed of Pringles and 2 orange juice drinks!). The bus was another 20 Bolivianos (1.5 Euro) for a 3 hour drive, exactly the same as the price for the previous 7 hour drive!

Potosi was a bit of a struggle for breathing given its height and we were happy when we got on the Sucre bus and descented 1.500 metres.

A funny thing about getting buses in Bolivia is that they charge all tourists between 1 and 1,50 Bolivianos for "use of terminal" or "pro-sport tax". Only to tourists though...a clever indirect tax by local politicians to invite tourists...

We were lucky to get a seat as on the second stop about 10 more people got on and there was about 5 people sitting on the floor. Luckily for entertainment we had 3 films (which was great for a minibus). Unluckily the films were:
- The Dragon Fighter with worst actor ever Rolph Lundgren
- Rambo 1 with Sylvester Stallone
- Rambo 2 with the same one (saldy interrupted by a toothpaste salesman which is very common in Bolivia and Paraguay...)

At arrival at Sucre we splashed out on a taxi to the hostel as it was dark already and we knew it was a 2 kilometre walk which with our map reading skills would be about 10 kms... We normally dont use taxis as buses are quicker, cheaper and safer. You never know if its an offical taxi in most countries here so we just prefer to go collective, and it also keeps are budget healthier. However at 8 Bolivianos a ride in Sucre (70 cents Euro) we made it a luxury trip.

Our surprise was when we arrived at the Hostal Colon at Sucre. It is just like an Andalusian house with its patio and 2 floors. For 110 Bolivianos (9 euros) you cant complain for a double, with TV (satellite with all European channels and news) and a nice clean bathroom en-suite.

Good night for now...
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