After saying goodbye to the nice lady at the hostel in Puno who gave me a very nice room with discounted price and even invited me for breakfast, I started riding south to the border. Hardly 15mins, it started to rain again. It was cold and Lake Titicaca was not so blue. Arriving at Desaguadero, there was a looong line of people at the Immigration. The line was about 40meters outside the office. It took me 1 hour to line up and only 1min to get the exit stamp. Cancelling my permisso took just 5 mins. Then I crossed the bridge and entered Bolivia. To my surprise, the line at the Immigration here was longer, about 70meters!!! It took me 2 hours to line up and just 1 min to get the entry stamp. It was not difficult to get my permisso at the aduana to bring GD into Bolivia. Overall, it took me 3.40 hours to cross both borders, the longest time for all 13 countries so far.
Once done, I had to ride on gravel for 1km with 3 dogs chasing me before I hit the paved road. The weather did improve, so I managed to enjoy a beautiful blue Lake Titicaca. The road to La Paz was so-so, with some badly sunken roads and pot-holes in places. Arriving here, the traffic was quite crazy but not as bad as in Lima. It’s not very easy to find accommodation with secure parking here, unless at the more expensive hotels. In the first place, if you are searching for hostel or hospedaje (Spanish word for ‘lodge’), you will end up frustrated because in Bolivia, the term used is ‘alojamiento’. I did find a good place anyway, Hostel Internacional, which charged an unbelievable B50 (RM25) for a really comfy room.
The road in El Alto, La Paz was sooo bad with pot-holes, puddles, construction and piles of construction sand or gravel in the middle of the road, making it difficult for me to exit to the highway. Pedestrians here were crazy too. They crossed the road as they liked without looking left or right. I kept reminding myself to go slow and be extra careful. I put up at Oruro for 1 night and continued towards Uyuni. The weather was fine. There were good and bad roads. The houses here are made from mud bricks, meaning the SES is lower. The view was sooo different here. I saw lots of llamas and amazing sand twisters spiralling into the sky…which also meant that I had to fight strong side winds for 2 hours today. After riding for 600kms from El Alto, La Paz, I reached Uyuni, the heart of Salar – the famous salt flats.
I took a one day tour to the Salar. It was amazing. I have no words to describe the beauty, so I will let the pics do the talking.