The death train

Trip Start Sep 30, 2006
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45
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Trip End Dec 24, 2008


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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Friday, March 2, 2007

The end of February arrived and so a new month brings a new country. we decided to head west across Brazil and visit Bolivia. A little bit of Internet research revealed the part of Bolivia we were heading to had been busy in the headlines...

News - Bolivia city faces 'flood threat' Around 90,000 face being evacuated from the Bolivian city of Trinidad amid rising floodwater's.
82% relevance | 26 Feb 2007
News - Aid arrives in flood-hit Bolivia International aid starts to arrive in flooded Bolivia, which the UN says is suffering its worst ever disaster.
89% relevance | 24 Feb 2007
News - Bolivia head issues flood attack Bolivian President Evo Morales says a failure to combat global warming has caused floods which killed 40.
82% relevance | 24 Feb 2007
News - In pictures: Bolivian floods Images of flood-hit Bolivia, where people are struggling after two months of heavy rains.
80% relevance | 23 Feb 2007
News - Timeline: Bolivia Key facts, figures and dates
97% relevance | 23 Feb 2007
News - No end to deadly Bolivian floods Up to 340,000 people have been affected by continuing flooding in Bolivia, which has left 35 people dead.
80% relevance | 20 Feb 2007 

Our options....

1.)       Fly over the flooded east lowland side of bolivar and head into the high western Andes thus missing mass flooded areas, roads blocked with mudslides, and general mayhem.

2.)      Make serious detour south back into Argentina and enter Bolivar from far south thus spending a very minimum of 96 non stop hours on buses and probably lose sanity.

3.)      Throw caution to the wind, take 30 hour bus west across Brazil, enter Bolivia at seriously flooded east side and catch the 20 hour death train across Bolivia to Santa Cruz.

Aaaahhh yes, the infamous Bolivian death train.  Takes anywhere from 20 to 25 hours and in the wet season may not run at all. The train chugs through huge swampy areas and got its nickname from its constant random stopping where mosquito´s furiously feed on the passengers. What an opportunity, couldn´t miss a ride on the death train so we waved goodbye to Rio and headed east. Took a city bus to Rio main bus terminal and sat down next to a guy from Clevedon.. Mark Jordan and his girlfriend on a r.t.w. Small world.

The bus to the Brazil border was the usual smooth and easy 30 hour journey, crossing the border was the usual crazyness. Standing on the tarmac of the Brazilian side with its clean passport control office you can glimpse Bolivia, mud track full of potholes, banged up cars and a tin shack for passport control, such a contrast. Brazil is an emerging economy and is quite developed. Bolivia features in the top 10 poorest countries in the world.

We got some money changed, always a comical event, we were looking at a 100 boliviano note and the portrait picture looked like a child had drawn it. Argument ensues with guy claiming its normal and good stuff, gringo walks away, guy comes back with the real bank notes. Taxi to the train station, driver wants practically a weeks salary for a 2km ride, gringo walks away, driver comes back with sensible price. Got to the train station and luck was on our side, the only train that day train was leaving in 30 minutes! We watched the floods from the train window, water nearly over the tracks which was amusing, the scenery was amazing and several mosquito's went home with full belies during the night.



Cooper Out

Love Dan & Kat
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