Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pampas Aullagas Oct 28-29

How random is my life? A few months ago thanks to this blog, I got an email from Sean the Techster Geologist in Canada who asked me if I would be interested in taking a trip to a middle-of-nowhere spot in Bolivia to get some rocks for him… It was an offer I couldn’t resist (it makes the top ten of random stories from 2006 so far!), and although it took me a while to get my act together, I finally took the trip! Oscar saved me because he agreed to come along as the driver and did an amazing job at conjuring up road maps with the help of his geographist brother, and helping me put together a tentative budget… Alice and Andrew came along for the ride, bringing with them the gas cooker which allowed us to throw together the delicious veggie tuna tomato sauce pasta on Sunday before tackling the drive home. The route we did was La Paz – Oruro – Challapata – Huari – Santa Quintalla– Pampas Aullagas (photo on right: random landscape near our destination). There was a slight mishap in Oruro which luckily we were able to resolve in less than half an hour (thanks Grandma for being my Guardian Angel once again!), in Huari we visited the beer factory (from the outside because apparently to actually visit the facilities you have to send a letter asking permision at least a week ahead of time… no comment) and then shared two Huari beers, and finally on the road out of Huari Oscar and I switched spots so I got to drive!

Sunday morning we climbed the little mountain next to the village to collect aforementioned rocks, take stunning pics and melt (it was insanely hot – and yes, my wearing a black tank top was not the smartest idea I have ever had!). That's me on the left looking just about as Lara Croft as I get, hehe. Then we collected our car Ruby (a dark green Toyosa 4x4 Runner) and went to the other side of the mountain to get the last rocks and have our delicious lunch before heading back to civilization. Picture on the lower left is the team at the top of the hill-mountain (left to right: Andrew, me, Oscar, Alice).

During the course of this trip we ate way too many of those sweets that had silly jokes on the wrapper, laughed too much at the silly jokes, had a great time filming bits and pieces of our adventure, took pictures until both our cameras were about to explode, and revelled at the diversity of Bolivia – the area around Pampas Aullagas is desert-like, with fine white sand, tons of cacti and lots of llamas (which, did you know, are the camel’s cousin?!).


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