The ticks probably don't have any viruses
since I'm still alive. Arriving in the jungle
we put our thermals in the bottom of our packs
hoping we had used them for the last time
on this trip. But we were proved wrong, heading
down to Potosí in the southern Bolivia
where it got cold again. We found a nice hostel
with the luxury of heated rooms for once and
a great hot shower - things which are very
valuable after some time in the out-back.
Potosí was a very nice cute colonial
town where we could relax. We also visited
the old silver mines - The mine which eats
men - where over 8 million (about Sweden's
population) mostly indigenous and black people,
have had to sacrifice their lives for the
welfare of Europe. This was once one of the
most important towns in South America due
to it's wealth in silver. Still people are
trying their poor luck with the remainder
of the ore but with no major success. The
conditions are still extremely poor even if
the workers work of free will nowadays. We
went down to one of the shafts and met some
of the workers who spent long hours in the
dark, cold and wet climate underground. Here
they sacrificed to the devil who rules the
underground. The workers were chewing coca
leaves all day to numb their tiredness and
hunger, and end the weeks with 96% spirits.
"The stronger alcohol the richer minerals".
The youngest worker we met was only 13 and
had been working for 2 years already. The
oldest was 49 and a bit of an exception since
most people die before the get 40 due to silicosis.
We then headed to south west Bolivia to Uyuni
where we got a tour through some salt lakes.
It was a fairly dull tour with a guide who
I rather would call a driver. It was more
of a transportation route with some extraordinary
stops. We first hit the enormous salt lake
which covered 13 000 square kilometres. The
ground was white of the salt as far as the
eye could see, and completely flat except
from the slight bend of the earth in the horizon.
We visited a hotel completely made out of
salt, lakes filled with beautiful pink flamingos,
geysers and lakes in green, red, white...
It was a real wonder of nature out here in
nowhere with temperatures down to -15 Celsius
After three days of driving we finally made
it to San Pedro de Atacama in the north of
Chile. We hopefully also left the cold behind
us for now. San Pedro was a great warm city
for us to recover and just relax. We ate good
and rented mountain bikes to have a look around
at the neighbouring ruins and the scenery
in the beautiful desert. Two days was enough
in Chile with our jam packed schedule and
luckily we got a bus to Argentina. The border
crossing took ages which maybe had something
to do with that they had the karaoke going
and the vodka out.
Finally we met significant signs of civilisation
again in Argentina. Hot water from the tap,
drinkable water from the tap, you did not
have to bin your used toilet paper outside
the toilet, more people spoke English, "real"
stores existed with "real" products
and it was possible to pay with a credit card.
It was nice to use these commodities after
a long time in the rough. We arrived to Salta
in northern Argentina and after a day of sight-seeing
we flew - which was affordable in this very
cheap country after their economical crises
- to Buenos Aires the capital of Argentina
on the east coast on the Atlantic Ocean. This
was an incredible city with everything you
can think of. I certainly have to get back
here with more time and more money (hope to
do my thesis here).
The day after arriving in Buenos Aires I
took the speed boat to Montevideo, the capital
of Uruguay. I thought I was going to be met
by the local guide,
Laura a very nice beautiful girl who is my
father's ex-work's colleague's husband's brother's
daughter. Instead of one guide I ended up
with a whole family of very generous and helpful
guides. They did a great job of showing me
around in Montevideo and the neighbouring
areas. Uruguay is a very nice and relaxed
country which seems to be great to live in
but less interesting as a tourist. I was fed
very well with their extremely rich food -
if not very fatty, very sweat, if not both.
They also all tend to drink Mate all day.
This is a very communal drink which is a kind
of tea which is passed around after a few
sips. Hard to explain but I did buy one, so
you can try when I get back home. It was a
lovely country where I only could spend less
than three days.
Now I'm back in Buenos Aires to do some shopping
before moving on. Since everything is extremely
cheap it's only my backpack and the weight
limit from the airline company which set the
limit. So far today I have bought a suit,
three pairs of shoes, a couple of shirts,
a tie, a tie holder with cufflinks, a pair
of pants, a jacket and soon a coat. There's
probably more to come so I got to chuck all
my old clothes from the trip which I happily
can do since most of them are wrecked.
I will soon be heading north before heading
north to Sweden. Catch you soon, if not, when
I get back. Love Emil