Our bus left at 9:10 am, the morning here was COLD! Even bundled up with blanket in the bus our feet were freezing and we had on our down jackets over all the rest of our clothes, ha! The countryside was desolate but beautiful, kind of like the SW US. Thru painted desert/canyons, seeing bunches of llamas wandering around. Got to Atocha, a town existing by a river and the railroad tracks...here they changed one of the bus tires and while we were out walking our daypacks were in the bus but locked. When we returned someone, most likely a passenger, had somehow split open the zippers, Bon only lost some bread but my rain jacket and new alpaca gloves were gone. Probably would have gotten more if we hadn't returned when we did! Now we will never leave our packs unattended in a bus. Never any problems before with locking the packs on the bus but live and learn. S. America is definately not a good tourist travel destination unless you just expect stuff to be stolen. We have been particularly careful lately but never expected this on a bus. Another good lesson learned and luckily not more taken.
Once the tire was on we headed out and followed up the riverbed and then into the hills...a winding, circuitous road...200 km in 7 hrs (30mph), but cool rock formations of all types, many looking like castles with giant pillars. Once in Tupiza...bus station is in city cntr...we headed to several hostels finally ending up in Hostel Pedro Arraya w/ really hot shower in prvt bath, dbl, incl brkfst for 90b. ($12.85 US). This place is crawling with tourists, most in tour groups and from Europe or Canada, no Americans that we've encountered. Talked to Carlos the manager...he's a native of town, says tourism and all the accompanying restaurants, internets, hostels/hotels really have come just in the last 7-8 years. In fact, the owner bought/built this place just 7 yrs ago. The young lady who drums up tours here is from La Paz, just here for past 3 years w/ language speaking skills (English & French) but now work in La Paz. Actually talked w/ other fellow waiting tables in pizza place,from a town 2 hours outside Santa Cruz who is also here only because there is work.
Got up to wash clothes...full of dust from desert travels! Our room is on the 3rd floor and faces SE which was most welcome as the sun just poured onto the balcony where we hung out all, and I mean ALL our clothes! With the hot water our clothes have never been cleaner! Spent the entire morning washing/drying. Then to the bus station where we learned that the only buses to our next intended destination, Tarija, only go at night! Bummer! I guess the locals don't care for the scenery and don't mind the freezing cold. Other tourists probably have a tour they're on or don't mind the time either, we hate it! Lots of buses go at night here in Bolivia, really crappy and the few which go in daylight usually cost more!
At the station we discovered that the blockade of Potosi is still ongoing but according to the news, something might happen to change that this eve. We checked all the bus companies going to Potosi and 3 actually said they had buses going tomorrow morning at 10:30 but we could not buy tickets until 8 am! So we shall see tomorrow!
Now in a very slow internet with no ability to upload pics.
We checked and the blockade in Potosi is still in force so we reluctantly opted to take the night bus to Tarija leaving at 8:30 pm!! Not nice! Can´t see anything, it´s cold, and really hard to sleep. Maybe there will be ongoing buses from Tarija since we arrive at 4:00 am!
Our visit in Tupiza has not been the typical tourist one...most tourists come for horseback treks into the surrounding countryside or tours thru the desert. Neither of interest to us altho the countryside is breathtaking Bryce canyon-like from what I remember of family trip 50 years ago. So we take to the internet waves...I try to catch up but the harder I try the behinder I get it seems.