April 21, 2010

Mas Perdito

After some pretty rough country I hit Padilla about 3, saw that it had a hotel and that the next town of similar size, Monteaguido,  was another 125 k or so away.  It had taken me all day to make about 200 km so Padilla it was.  This was my most basic hotel yet,  no bathroom, no tv.  The local cibercafe said internet only on mardi (tuesday) if I understood right. 

Padilla is very nice little town, with a well kept central square, around which everybody parades at night.  The food looked a bit scary after my food poisoning bout, but I had a sort of hamburger made with egg, lettuce tomato and french fries.  The restaurants were all closed when I wanted to eat, the usual story, but they were booming around 8 pm.

I made an early start the next day, the next town of any consequence was 125 km down the atrocious road, aka Bolivia highway 6, my average speed would be about 35 kmh, so 4 hours give or take.  The next picture shows a typical river crossing on the highway.  They are actually pretty fun if you hit them hard, a shower and a bike wash all in one.

All this time I have been descending from the Altiplano, and it is getting warmer, the vegetation is becoming more tropical, the Heli Hansons and the Joe Rocket jacket liner have been packed away, clothes are coming off every few miles.  I reach Monteaguido around noon, my map tells me that after another 130 km or so I will reach pavement.  I took a quick peak at the hotel and it looks like last night's, so I push on.

I ask one of the locals if I am on the right road, and he says yes.  It looks just as bad as the road that took me into town, so it must be right.  Two hours and 70 km later I realize that I have seen no buses, one or two taxis and not much else.  My map shows all these towns I should have passed.  A guy is walking down the road, so I check with him, and sure enough, I am on the wrong road again.  I can either continue on for another ocho (8) or so horas, and reach Tarjifa, or go back.  I choose the cowardly way out and retreat.  Other than being supremely pissed at myself and all of Bolivia in general it was not a total loss, as I had seen all kinds of parrots and three toucans, which I learned later was very unusual (to see a toucan).

The hotel in Monteguido turned out to be much nicer than the one in Padilla, so I got a good nights rest and a decent shower.  In the morning I got an early start, this time on the right road.  Not too far ahead I see a KTM 530 partially disassembled by the side of the road and a guy in full MX gear working on it.  Naturally I stop to see if I can participate.

The bike had a flat tire, without introducing himself the rider says, you are not going to believe this, but I am a Canadian too, and I heard about you getting lost last night.  So I am curious about how word about me got around, Randy (the guy on the KTM) tells me he got lost on the same road and talked to the same guy I did.  Only Randy ran out of gas and slept in the ditch that night.  He had been returning to his home in Carmiri, a town on the ´right´road we both needed to be on.  Randy invited me to stay with him and his wife Yvonne and three year old Valentino for a few days, so that is what I will do. 

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