05 May 2008

Bolivian Death Road

Here's another video from Telegraph.co.uk, this time on the "death road," also known as the North Yungas Road, from La Paz to Coroico.

I am annoyed a bit by the Telegraph's bias. I know they're a British newspaper, and I've heard from my friends from the UK that their newspapers are so biased and error-ridden that people trust the news on TV more, but still. They have broken ground on a bypass for the road, it's just so expensive trying to build on such steep mountains. Okay, I'll admit, Bolivia does have some money and political problems, but they don't need to make it sound as if the country's so broke, they sit around and get violent on their dirt roads. Bah.

One thing that makes this road so scary is that smaller vehicles have to yield to the bigger ones by standing near the edge. Yep, all those bikers have to stand by the edge of the road to let the bigger vehicles pass. It's only built to fit one car, though it does give some shoulder space at some intervals. Needless to say, it really isn't used by the locals too often. I don't think I'll bike down it anytime soon, thanks.

By the way, all the rural roads that hug the mountains in Bolivia are scary. I remember being about eight years old on a tour bus to see some Incan ruins. The damned bus would sometimes have to drive on the edge of the road to be able to fit by a passing car. That road was paved, with a dividing line, too! I can't imagine how scary it'd be on the death road. It was almost beat by that one time we were driving on a similar road and I was sitting on my cousin's lap in the front seat. We couldn't fit the seatbelt around both of us, so we had to ride that sans seatbelt. My cousin also got carsick during the trip, joy!

You get some beautiful views on those roads, however. Nothing beats looking out your window - as long as you don't look down - and seeing green mountainsides hugged by white mist. Gorgeous; remind me to post pictures sometime. I have one where it has a rope bridge spanning maybe 500 feet of space, and the bridge was partially obscured by the mist. Everyone must visit.

Correction: according to Wikipedia, the bypass route was completed in 2006. Just goes to show how research is useful.

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