Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Uyuni - portosi - sucre

When traveling in Bolivia, It seems to me that once you hop on a bus and leave the city or town you were previously in, the coming hours will be very interesting. I had just left uyuni after purchasing a bus ticket to Sucre via portosi. It was seemingly easy. Ride the bus 6 hours and change at portosi where I will spend another 3ish hours driving until I arrive in Sucre. This is the plan. Between cities there is epic mountain ranges and rolling plains until a city pops out of nowhere and there is a mad scramble for your bags. This is bus travel in Bolivia and it takes some getting used to. (Although I feel like experiencing travel in India has given me an edge).

The bus to portosi was not so bad. I polished off a bag of mnm's and finished reading Hunter s. Thompsons, kingdom of fear. That guy is quite the outlaw. So we arrive in portosi which is at a ridiculous altitude. Something over 4000m, (I should correct an error I made last post. I actually climbed to 5000m!) It looked like rain clouds as we sat at the bus station, lost and confused. As we were discussing what the hell was going on with this bus change over, it began to hail. Tiny ice cubes littered the streets as stall owners shuffled into shelter. I love how a lot of the women have adopted the English bowler hat as a must have fashion item. Our bus driver beckoned for us to jump on the bus again. We are taken to another terminal and have our tickets exchanged for a transfer ticket to Sucre.

Waiting for about 45 minutes as dogs roam past searching for food or begging stall owners, finally our new bus arrives. We spend another half an hour helping the other passengers stuff the obviously overwhelming luggage into an obviously underwhelming luggage compartment. I hear many, 'es no posible'! Somehow we make it work and board the bus on route to Sucre.


  1. I think the English bowler hat has been a fashion item in South America for quite some time, Mitch. We saw many women wearing them in Ecuador.
    And altitude, they have that in Ecuador, too. I spent our first two days in Quito in bed, trying to breathe, while my husband went exploring.
    But South America is wonderful, isn't it?
    And just about everything 'es posible' if you try hard enough.

  2. The bowler, called a bombín in Spanish, has been worn by Quechua and Aymara women since the 1920s, when it was introduced to Bolivia by British railway workers. For many years, a factory in Italy manufactured the hats for the Bolivian market, but they are now made locally. from Wikipedia

  3. I'll go out and buy a pair of bowlers for us on your return Mitch.
    Love your prose.