Riding a Bike on the World’s Most Dangerous Road

The World’s Most Dangerous Road? That sounds quite badass!

Actually, I can calm you down. I didn’t do anything life-endangering or absolutely crazy. ;-)

Until a few years ago this road was the World’s Most Dangerous Road. It connected La Paz with the jungle. So all cars, buses and even trucks had to take it. Being extremely narrow it claimed many, many lives. Thankfully, now it is only used as a tourist biking attraction while all other vehicles can go down by the newly paved road. Clearly for bikers it is not that hard to stay on the path, and our guide told us that if bikers get injured it is because they ride like maniacs, fall down on the unpaved road and break their arms. Still I treated the route with a lot of respect, also knowing that up to 300 people died there yearly.Read More »

We are all earthlings

Hey!

Another funny but also insightful story from Samaipata:

During our time there we met an interesting person from Germany. She was a transgender that has been living in Bolivia for a year and a bit now. She didn’t really have an easy time there. Learning Spanish is not her strength I guess, and immigration’s have been harder than expected. But proud she told us that the energy from El Fuerte would help her out and that’s why she stayed here. Probably also because there are so many travelers all the time. :-)

One thing that she said made me think about a specific topic from a completely different side: I have always had this opinion that being respectful and understandable is a necessity when going to another country, especially when the country was poorer than mine. That it was crucial to adjust to what the locals expect from you. Indeed, this makes all travels easier in any case.

What this woman said however, is in some way also true. Read More »

Sharing a ride with a 40-something truck driver

When we made our way to Cuevas we stopped a truck by the street that would take us with him to the nature reserve a few kilometers down the road. (Yep, it is like hitchhiking, but they will usually expect some money!) He was really interested in us and asked questions about where we were from, how much money we need for our travels, how much things cost in Europe, what the weather was like, and so on.

He also told us a lot about himself – he drove a truck from Potosí to Santa Cruz and back. It would take him a few days. His wife was back home in Potosí and had a small kiosk, she had to take care of. He said it was not possible for them to live off just of his salary, so she had to find something to do for her. He said people in Bolivia wouldn’t earn a lot of money, only those that went to school and would now sit in an office.Read More »

Long-distance bus disasters

Long-distance buses are essential for traveling South America. They’ll take you anywhere! It will take you a few hours, sometimes more, sometimes less, but you will get there eventually. Since we landed in Lima in the middle of January those buses were the only way we made it from A to B, not always comfortable but reasonably priced and (almost) always there when you need them. When you look at the continent of South America it might seem small because countries are so big and spread out. To take you from Lima to Cusco for example will take you around 22 hours and that being on a good road. So we’ve gotten pretty used to spending good amounts of time on buses and even came to like it. Everything that is under 6 hours actually seems to be a short time of traveling. Darn, that will be a big change coming back to Europe and realizing that everything is so close!Read More »

What is different about South American countries?

Hey guys!

I am back in English. The last two posts were in German and I kind of enjoyed writing in my mother tongue. You can let me know below, what you prefer?! But here we go with what I have to say for today:

You know that feeling when somebody is generalizing places like Europe and you are just thinking to yourself “Well, Europe is much more than just one thing!” But to be honest I often do the same thing with Africa or Asia, but even Eastern Europe. It’s because I haven’t really been to any of these regions, and I think that’s a normal behavior if you are not familiar with the distinct countries. You might have heard some clichés or preconceptions and that’s what you go with. The same applied for me when I was thinking about South America. There are a couple of countries, but they are pretty much the same, right?

Of course traveling here taught me otherwise.Read More »

Culture shock in South America

I always thought culture shock was something absurd. I knew I wouldn’t always agree with everything I encounter in a new and different country and that there will be things to frustrate me. It had never gone that far so I would call it a culture shock but this time it hit me – a little harder. It may be that all the other times before, I haven’t gone out too far of my comfort zone and stayed or moved to places with similar backgrounds, cultures, values and customs. There wasn’t that much of a change from home. Or it can be that I expected a lot of my travels through South America, I hoped them to be perfectly relaxing and easy and to be fun and games, always. Which was not so much the case.Read More »