So today I biked what they call El Camino De Muertos…the Dead Road. But don´t worry, it´s not as bad as it used to be. In 1995, it was called the most dangerous road in the world. But that was when it was the only road from the jungle to La Paz, and there were many cars and trucks going up and down this small, rock-laden road. Now it is a popular tourist biking route.
We started out at 15,000 feet and ended at 4,000 feet in about 2.5 hours. The change in the weather is incredible between the 2 climates. We started out at 8:30am on the top of a mountain, completely foggy, and probably around 40 degrees. The climate steadily changed to not so cold, a bit warm, and finally hot enough to be in a tshirt and shorts. The change from the crisp morning air blowing in your face and hands freezing, to the humid jungle breeze being the only thing to cool off under your sweaty clothes.
We started out on a nice paved road which some cars but plenty of space. After about 45 minutes and 10 miles, we got to the old death road where rarely cards ars drive now. The road was a rough one, where bike suspension is important. In the tour, we were only 3: a guy from Brazil, a guy from Slovakia, and me. We had a Bolivian guide who led us, and a Bolivian guy driving a support van behind us. The road is dangerous because there are almost no railings, and a lot of the time the drops are 1,000 or 2,000 feet. The road is always wide enough where you don´t need to be close to the edge, and you can ride as slow as you want.
After arriving to Coroico, we had a buffet lunch at a nice hotel perched up on the hill on the town with beautiful views of the jungle and the valley. Being a buffet, I made sure to fill up enough, and I drank my fair share of coffee since the coffee in the jungle is always the freshest and the best, locally grown. I will plan to stay in this town probably 2 nights before heading up more into the jungle to the north. There should be some nice hikes here.
Yesterday in La Paz, I met up with a Couchsurfer, named Gilbert, that I had met a few times already before that. He´s a Bolivian guy who lived in the US for 15 years. He works at the Bolivian office of foreign affairs and has many interesting stories. We went out for lunch at a really nice Brazilian place (steak, vegetables, rice, beans, desert, coffee for about $4!). Afterwards I did some sightseeing around the city and found some nice viewpoints for pictures. In the evening, I met up with Gilbert again and we headed to the Zona Sur, the extremely nice area. We met up with his sister and their friend, an American girl from Texas who is doing research in La Paz. Zona Sur is a whole different world than other parts. They have stores selling GAP, Banana Republic, and other nice brand name clothes. They have really nice coffee shops, like you might see in the Plaza in Kansas City. Really, the shopping area had a Plaza feel to it. They had Japanese, Mexican, Italian, Peruvian, any type of restaurant you would want. Being back in civilization, I went with the cheap Gyro to remind me of my European travels. It was a great last night in La Paz and in the city life! Because I´ve met some great people in La Paz, I am going to try to make it back. But for now, it´s into the jungle!