We need your help! It’s decision time and a small rift has developed in Sprinter Life. Stevie wants to go South. I want to go East.
What say you?
Here is the deal.
We’ve been trapped in La Paz, Bolivia for over 5 weeks. All over the country there are road blocks and protests. Remember this post for all the details.
Yesterday we tried to make a run for it because the Government said there would be a 48 hour pause on protests. Remember this post for all the details.
We made it 4 hours south before hitting Oruro, the mining stronghold of Bolivia and a major center of government opposition. Apparently the “pause for negotiations” didn’t go so well. As soon as we swung around the city on the Pan-Americana highway, we hit the first active road block. Below Stevie hops out to assess the situation.
As we looked around, we saw road blocks everywhere. Most were set up with vans blocking the path. I’ve never seen so many vans in my life! Where the hell did these things come from?
We noticed that a few cars were turning off the highway and heading into the city. We decided to follow them hoping that there might be a vein that got through to the other side. As we got deeper into the city, we noticed that about every other street was blocked.
We also noticed that more road blocks were being put up as we were driving. We deduced that the negotiations must have gone bad and that the locals were throwing all the blocks back up.
We got suckered all the way into the center and for a while we were worried that we were going to get trapped down there behind all the blocks going up. We had to decide whether to continue to push through to the other side, or try to retreat back to the La Paz side.
We made the call to retreat, but getting out wasn’t easy. Every other street was blocked, and although we often saw signs to La Paz, finding a way through the blocks proved to be quite a crux.
After about an hour of weaving, we finally found a vein that took us back out of the city. We drove the four hours back to La Paz. We burned through half our gas and wasted an entire day. Our spirits were low.
So, here we are back in La Paz with our friends from Lost World. They are waiting for their Brazilian visas, and then they are out of here on a burly route through the Amazon jungle. No road blocks or protesters where these guys are going! Unfortunately, everyone but me agrees that the Sprinter would never make it down that road. So that option is out, HA!
As for us, the way I see it we have three options.
1) We can retreat back to Peru, drive east, and then cross into Chile at Tacna.
2) We can drive east from La Paz across the Sajama desert and try to cross into Chile at a more remote border crossing.
3) We can wait until Sunday and try to drive south again, hoping that the protesters will be taking the day off (which, since they have every other Sunday, they probably will again).
Option #1 sounds heinous to both Stevie and I, so we’ve pretty much ruled it out. That leaves option #2 and #3.
I want #2, bail to Chile. I’m over it. Seems to me that we could be chillin on the beach in Chile in a couple days time. It’s winter swell there right now so the surf is firing. We got 2 months before we fly to the States for vacation, and the thought of spending that time relaxing in a predictable, easy 1st world country just sounds appealing.
Stevie wants option #3. She’s worried that we’d be leaving the best parts of Bolivia on the table, namely Sucre and the Salt Flats (the largest in the world),. We could get to Sucre on a Sunday, and we have the time to wait out the protest there if we have to. From Sucre, we could go to Salar de Uyuni (Salt Flats) the following weekend (if the protests are still going on), and then cross into Northern Argentina–total of two weeks more in Bolivia. She also makes a very good point about the massive increase in our burn rate if we go to Chile, specifically in lodging. We’ll go from paying $10 a night to $60, and over 2 months, that’s really gonna hurt.
So, what say you?
Do we go option #2 to Chile, or do we stay the course in Bolivia on option #3?
As of now, it’s a tie vote. Kiki of course voted with me, but apparently Soleil (the little traitor) voted with her Mama.
Help us close the Sprinter Life rift and make a decision. Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think. If you receive Sprinter Life by email, just reply to the email.
(Luis, your voice/vote doesn’t count)