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Goodbye Paraguay … Hello Bolivia!!

Bloged in The gap 2010 by gu-ru on 10:29 PM
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It must have been the only two hours within several rainy days when we were able to drive on from the dear Hostettler family and San Rafael. The night before had been somewhat dry, and soon after we had left the 10 kilometers of read-earth-road, it started raining again. Those 10km had been quite an experience. Several times we were almost overtaken by our rear wheels, and once we missed the ditch by sheer luck. But somehow, we slid back into position every time and could drive on. (It was somehow reassuring that Christine was driving ahead with the 4×4 Toyota and could have towed us.)
With no wipers and several other technical problems we reached the Ruta 7 near Ciudad del Este where we spent the night at a service station. The next day, we were stopped in police controls 6 times out of 7, and each time there was something else wrong: the papers are not legitimate, the light doesn’t work (which it probably didn’t, but later it worked), taking a dog is illegal, … The police has some imagination, we have to say. But with playing stupid, having enough time and being hardheaded, all of them let us continue eventually. The last one smiled, gave us back the papers he hadn’t even looked into and sent us off when we told him: our papers are all ready, after so many controls.

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So, we arrived happily at our relatives who welcomed us warmly (this time we had announced us in advance). The week with them just flew by and we arranged a little bbq party for all the relatives in the area, from whom quite a few came to meet us. And then we left again. After having decided to go back to Chile, we were now in a hurry (as for us).

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Quickly we passed by the lovely family in Asuncion, who had invited us earlier, but only stayed two nights. They spoiled us nevertheless with Asado (bbq) and looked to our every need.
And then we started to cross the Chaco into Bolivia. The Chaco is a dry steppe, where there is not much more than some bad roads, a lot of dust and heat and some scattered haciendas. Oh, there are also some Mennonite colonies, one of which we visited (to buy water and mosquito spray).

Don Rayo was mastering the whole thing splendidly, even though the part between Mariscal Estigarribia and La Patria was in very bad shape. For kilometers on end, there was dust up to the ankle and truck tracks much deeper than that. Afterwards we had some fun cleaning.

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We met two truck drivers who had been waiting in the shadow of their broken down truck for two days for someone to tow them. We gave them some water.
The paraguayan police restored some of our trust in them in La Patria. We spent the night in front of the Comisaría, were invited to some Asado (which we had to decline for our upset stomachs) and had some good talks about corruption and general police work.
Then on we went to the border. The officer almost wouldn’t let us pass into Bolivia because we only have a computer print of the proprietor’s licence to our car. (Unfortunately, the original never reached the hostel in Santiago.)

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But his colleague accepted some other (orignial) documents we could present and let us drive on.

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After a flat tyre and changing the wheel, we arrived in the first town in Bolivia. We tried to refill the tank and learned something new about Bolivia: drivers of foreign cars have to pay about three times as much for gasoline as the normal price, which lies at around half a US dollar. The gas station has to have a special receipt book to serve a foreign customer, and few have that.

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So there’s few places we can get gasoline. Later on we learned that we can get fuel without problems into a canister, walk 10 meters to our car and pour it in. That can be repeated as many times as you wish – to the local price.
And so, we arrived happily in Santa Cruz, left the same day and are now relaxing in Samaipata for a few days. Here, on 1600 meters a.s.l., the temperatures are almost cool, but the showers are fantastically hot!

1 Comment »

  1. Ich mag eure Berichte, immer wieder… Eindrücke in ferne Welten.
    Ganz liebi grüäss, anja

    Trackback by Anja Thursday May 16th, 2013 08:29 PM

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