1350 meters climbing, 1250 down
The first thing to do in the morning was drag the bags down the steps and then down the road to the truck. Everything fitted in my new bag but I still need to do some work on the packing system to make it easier. It was quite cold but I am pleased with my new jacket, plus have the usual other warm clothing.
The breakfast is not at the hotel where we are staying but down the road where the street party was. I am not feeling at all hungry (due to gastro) but with 104 kilometres plus climbing I made myself eat. I managed to get down two cups of tea and some bread roll with peanut butter on. Then a sudden dash to the bathroom to bring it back up. So not riding today after all.
A bit depressing to be in the truck on the first day of a new section. It does however save me having to ride through the aftermath of the street party. Broken glass and rubbish were strewn everywhere. The female riders were warned to ride in pairs are there were a number of drunks still lurching around the streets.
Three of the riders are staying in La Paz longer:
- Jean from French Canada has lost his passport,
- Marina’s boyfriend Guillaume (both also from French Canada) has joined her in La Paz to do the La Paz to Salta section. Guillaume has experienced every rider’s worst fear: he arrived in La Paz but so far no bike!
- One of the other rider’s Mike had his iPhone pick pocketed last night. When he went to the Police station to report it the police station was closed. Apparently it is not open on Saturday nights!
The riders had to ride 26 kilometres out of town, doing most of the 1,350 meters climb in chaotic traffic then basically flat riding to camp. There was lots of traffic with the added extra of having to go through a large market with the usual swarm of taxis and mini vans starting in and out with no regards for traffic rules or cyclists.
The scenery reminded me of the desert road in North Island New Zealand: barren, tussocks, and mountains in the background. I left La Paz in the lunch truck but I got into the dinner truck when it came past and got to camp about 11am.
The camp was uninspiring, a bare concrete soccer field right in the open in middle of town! A bush camp with no bush! A bush camp also means no showers and no toilets.
This camp also has no shade but the TDA staff have bought a bought a new shade canopy so the riders can at least sit under it in the shade in the afternoon.
To go to the toilet the instructions on the whiteboard said: “Take a spade and walk down the road to a tunnel to the other side” – this is about 5 minutes’ walk, and hardly a safe option at night, even without the packs of 7 to 9 dogs that lurk around the camp all day.
A number of locals took the opportunity of driving slowly past to look at us – no doubt we would do the same if a bunch of Bolivians suddenly camped in the middle of our town square on a soccer field! A few came over and had photos with us.
I dozed in my tent most the afternoon, and whilst I have gastro I have not vomited again.
Whilst in La Paz I took my prescription to the pharmacy and got prednisone. As they did not keep the prescription I got two lots. I have not started taking it, I am still using the reliever but not enough I don’t think to start prednisone. My lips are still causing problems, as with a number of the riders, which we are putting down as due to the altitude.
For dinner we had chicken, macaroni cheese and salad. I had a small helping which hopefully I will keep down. There were dogs barking and fighting most of the night, and I had to get up 7 times during the night with gastro, so not a lot of sleep. However, I was warm with my new alpaca blanket.