Uyuni to Potosi

matt 120pxWe spent six hours of our day on a bus from Uyuni to Potosi. Although Bolivia barely has any paved roads and it was a bumpy ride, it was an interesting journey. Firstly, the scenery was absolutely spectacular. Uyuni sits at around 3600 meters and Potosi at just over 4000, so it was high-altitude mountain scenery all the way. We wove our way through spectacular mountain ranges of varying colors. Bolivia has the most awesome geology, with green, purple, red, black, and grey mountains. I couldn’t take any photos because of the dirty windows and it rained on and off most of the journey. Some of the mud villages looked as if the rain would melt them away. Bolivia is very very poor. It seems about on par with Laos, the poorest country we’ve visited until now. In Laos, most homes are temporary and made of bamboo frames and woven mats. In Bolivia, most homes are temporary and made of adobe, or less euphemistically, mud bricks. Aside from entire villages made of mud, we passed a few abandoned villages, their tin roofs stripped and only portions their melted-looking walls remaining. We passed a few mines and the adjacent towns, saw lots of llamas, alpacas, and vicunas, as well as some small farms, their rocky plots delineated by stone walls. Our bus stopped often to pick-up and drop off people along the way. Even the people were evidence that we were in a poor country. The worn clothes, the dirtiness. The men in their earth tones and the women with their chola dresses, bowler hats, and rainbow-colored blankets slung around their backs. For the first time since we were in South East Asia, we’re traveling via local transportation in a poor country. The bus ride was not comfortable or fast, but it was different and interesting.

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