Walking through the desert

September 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

 Hitch-hiking the deserted areas that surround the salt lake was difficult. Let’s face it: it was almost impossible. After 2 hours of waiting a bus that runs once per day picked me up until Julaca, which is not more than a bunch of abandonded buildings (at least they looked like that) – and a basketball pitch. From there I wanted to hitch hike to Colcha K, a bigger village and center of an area where they grow mostly Quinoa, one of the very few crops that grow at this altitude at all.

I walked out of Julaca and found this cemetery. Was this an omen for the following hours?

As it turned out, the next “street” was even more lonely that I had thought. By far no car at all. But I wanted to arrive in Colcha K that night. I had a good map, 1,5 Liter of Coca Cola, some crackers and a sleeping bag (and all my heavy photo equipment…).

Hence, I started to walk.
You see the power-lines on the right side. They make a straight line from Julaca to Colcha K – crossing 20 Kilometers of desert. There were the mountains in the background raise, there is Colcha K. The aim of the day. I had 4 hours until it would get dark…For 20 km walking.

Late afternoon, looking back to Julaca. In the open landscape it’s so hard to get an idea of how far away places really are….

I walked and walked and walked. Hour and hour, never stopping longer that 5 minutes, because I knew: as soon as the sun went down, it could be freezingly could and orientation gets more complicated…

Honetsly, I felt like Forrest Gump when he was running.

I think I shouldn’t post this self portrait. I really look…lost. Weírdow !

But I made it!!

Finally, it took me almost 6 hours to walk 20 km. The last 1,5 hours were horrible, the village was further away than I thought, and my feet were all over covered by blisters. Fortunately, it was a really mild night and didn’t become cold at all. And the moon was shining, so that I could see the power lines and follow them into Colcha K where I arrived at 9 pm.

They next day I didn’t leave my “hostel”, only for eating. I read a whole thick book in one day.Colcha K. Simple huts as you find them all over west-Bolivia.
It was not easy to find something warm to eat in Colcha K, but this woman who runs a small shop just cooked something for me (rice, french fries, some meat). She told me to sit down in the kitchen – that’s how bolivien kitchen look like (this is a better one…)

Political posters and calendars on every wall.
The courtyard. In Bolivia, clean places are the exception, unforunately. And alcohol is widely abused.
At the end a rather funny picture: lamas in the center of the village, searching for some food…


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