Potosi – La Paz (5.5.-11.5.-2011)

What have I ever done to Bolivia that she (or he) is treating me like this? Did I bully her in a day care? Forced her to wear a woolly hat in the winter? It must’ve been something very tough I’m sure- there is no other explanation why she is giving me such a hard time right now. NO OTHER EXPLANATION!

So back to Potosi, the richest city in the World in the 17th century. The city with silvered streets when the hay day was on. The city with two Scandinavians and their ass issues: Nedo with “dumb and dumber” diarrhea and me with ass looking like a tomato pan pizza. The third day we did no progress in kilometers (except in tears when the cable TV showed dubbed Titanic), Nedo decided to play rough. He marched to the pharmacy and asked for some antibiotics. This meant that the fourth day was a departure day for La Paz.

The stretch between Potosi and La Paz would be about 530km long paved road and we wanted to make it in 7-8 days.

The first day we started very easily for my arse: only 42km, mostly downhill. The head wind though was really tough in the afternoon so it was a good choice to end the day in a small village with one pension run by two teenage girls. They couldn’t have been more than seventeen, but had arrogance like seventy-year olds. Nedo –as in antibiotics as he may have been – left quite an arrogance to their water closets as well.

The second day Nedo felt already better, but my “margharita” was still tender. So I left a bit earlier than Nedo to push the bike first 15km of uphill. As soon as Nedo caught me I continued cycling with upstand position just next to him (as perverted as that may sound). I made it to the peak, but as the road was up and downs all the time, I got tired to ride the bike without sitting and had to push the bike at the next long uphill. This was when Nedo decided to go at his own speed and meet me in the next  village with alojamiento (accommodation). It was no more than 20km, and that day we did also only 60km in total (Views were stupendous).  We booked a night at a friendly hospedaje (guest house) and went out to play some football with local boys. It was supposed to be a match Europe vs. Bolivia, but we had to ask for four more players into our team to make it equal six against six game. Me and Nedo we both scored once, but it didn’t help Europe to beat Bolivia in the altitude of 4000meters. Our speed was more from the moon than from the Earth, and the audience couldn’t stop laughing everytime we touched the ball.

Third day was similar to the previous one. I started first, Nedo caught me and then continued alone to the village with a hostal. I, struggling with the arse pain, got a nice rhythm after fixing one puncture (tyre, not my ass), plus witnessing a llama spreaded on an asphalt likedulce de leche on just about anything,  and made it to the meeting point in a good time. Even so, I decided to walk to the pharmacy too, and to ask for some antibiotics against my skin… for it wasn’t  only my bottom which was asking for some medicine… my vertex (sculp) and fingers were also in bad condition. I got a package of pills, paid two euros and thanked the lady who was as much of a doctor as Hugh Laurie is.

Fourth day I felt like a superman. Those antibiotics seemed to do some magic and my bottom was ready for some sitting. This day we wanted to reach Oruro ( 117km) and watch ManU-Chelsea match on the way. The road was from this point on flat (antiplano), so the distance was no problem. The premier league game on the other hand turned out to be a bit too optimistic goal – the only cable tv in the village we passed was under construction.

However, we made it together to Oruro(240 000pop.) way before bed time and decided to check out our emails in the local net café. The rest of the evening went something like this:

Stolen mobile phone -> stomach ache-> no sleep.

I don’t know what triggered my stomach ache, but suddenly I lost my appetite and felt really weak.  The fact that I lost 800 pics, camera, mp3 player and a cellular phone didn’t help the situation.

The fifth day I asked Nedo to stay one day in Oruro, as I was too weak to cycle further that to the check-out desk. Also I suggested we changed our hostal into a four star hotel-just to get the comfort once in a while. Last nights we were sleeping for 2-3 euros per night, with no toilets in the rooms, no shower etc. This time we paid each 15 euros, and you can imagine what kind of a improvement that brought. Bath tub, cable tv, internet, breakfast buffet, heating and a ping pong table just to name a few. The next morning I was feeling much better again.

The sixth day we wanted to cycle together 127km, but after 80km of struggling I had to give up. I was not 100% not even 60% fit, so I called it a day in a village with a accommodation for 2,5 euros (no toilets, just a pot next to a bed). Nedo was feeling fit, so he decided to go further. He wanted to reach La Paz the next day, so he calculated his sleeping place to be 50km ahead. And so we aparted. Nedo disappeared in a windy and cloudy haze, as I stayed healing my body at this village. As days before together with Nedo, I had almuerzo (lunch) and cena (dinner) menus for 1 euro, including a soup and a main dish –chicken again.

The seventh day I wanted to make it into half way of La Paz (150km to La Paz). It was raining in the morning, but luckily the wind was very good. My ass was feeling much better and my stomach wasn’t bad either. Actually In 2,5hours I already reached the place Nedo stayed the night at (he was already gone). On this way I saw massive truck accident and some snow falling down (it was freezing).

When I biked the first  50km so fast I raised my hopes to get to La Paz the same day too. The wind was still very good, so my average speed was around 20km/h. When I passed the 100km mark I was already sure I’m going to make it. I was getting weak, I hadn’t eaten anything but some gelatin gummy bears, but I knew I’m going to make it. PSSHHHHHHHH. Puncture. It was cold, but not as cold as in Paso de Jama. So I could fix the puncture in 25 minutes.

Next 3km, PSHHHHHHHH. Second puncture and in the middle of a hail. ¡#*ç’¿@ª*º!

This time I shouted very many bad words. Two punctures within ten minutes. Hailing. Weakness.

In 30 minutes I changed the tyre and was on the road again. It was only 30km to La Paz, so timewise I was still OK. And the end was not so bad at all… as when you arrive to La Paz from el Alto (airport), you’ll get a panorama of La Paz which shoots your eyes into a marshmallow sea. And the sun appeared as well, so it was a very pleasant descending to the highest capital in the World…

But then things went strange again. When I arrived to the hostel where Nedo was at, my stomach went “heilutaan taas”- and I was completely vegetable for the next 35 hours. Yes, I saw four movies during this time (inglorious basterds (2nd time), 127 hours, date night, robin hood (2010)), but as a vegetable.

Then I decided to stop the antibiotics.

Ps. At the time of writing I feel actually quite good again, body 80, mind 95% 🙂

pps. the pics are Nedo’s not mine… obviously.

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