Choro Trek.

30 August - 1st September 2003.

We decided to do Bolivia's premier trek from a place called La Cumbre on the edge of the Altiplano, just outside La Paz, to Corioco, a village of sub-tropical vegetation in the Yungas.  The trek promised many distinct differences in the people and their dress, herds, crops and dwellings.

We were surprised to be one of two couples doing the trek in their peak season.

This is Claire at the start of the trek, some 4900m up. We had to steeply climb 200m, before a dramatic descent for the rest of the day. It was a hard start, but was worth the beautiful views, dispite the difficulty breathing.

We were warned by the police not to attempt the trek alone as there have been reports of robberies. Jason decided he would be ok with his camouflage clothes and Kiwi attitude.

The trek follows old pre-Columbian paving, which whilst beautiful, is often hard on the feet, and slippery in the wet patches.

Earlier that day we had passed a local village (Achura) which was having their annual festival. Claire got told off for having only a vest on by an old man who was holding his privates while going for a wee about 5 metres away from her.

Each morning Jason prepared the drinking water in the stream with our water filter. Claire tried to not burn the Bolivian porridge oats as we had to cook with Petrol rather than white spirit (thankyou Mr Bush and your war on drugs).

We stayed in a small village called Cha'llapampa which seemed to only host one family, all the other houses were empty. We had been up since 4 am, thanks to the cockerels wake up call.  They interestingly stopped at 6.10am as soon as we got out of the tent.

We teamed up with this couple on the first day in order that we could feel a little safer, and stayed at camp together. The girl had a small backpack and decided to practically jog her way through day one, while the rest of us followed with our large heavy rucksacks.

This is them the next morning, their priority for the next day seemed to be yoga and playing the flute.  We didn't see them for the rest of the trek.

Jason thinks its funny to video and take pictures of Claire struggling with these bridges. We had seen several bridges that had fallen in the river, often the planks would fall loose, while you are walking. None of this helped Claire with her bridge phobia.

Our Bolivian map wasn't the best, and we were often not where we thought ( usually an hour or two behind).  This meant that we camped the second night by a waterfall, on the edge of a 40m drop into the river. Claire felt exposed, and was nervous at dinner when seeing lights approaching. It turned out to be one of many fireflies that performed a magical display for us before bedtime.

Earlier this day we had met a local man at his house who sold us a Sprite. Jason tried practising his Spanish and asked him a few things including if his horse spoke Spanish. Jason tried to ask the Spanish word for horse but instead the man replied 'no' with a very straight though slightly puzzled look. The man had warned us about something being closed and Jason thought he was telling us shops were closed, hence he wanted us to buy more over priced products.

An hour into our journey, this gate was closed. We got freaked out that we were not meant to be going on any further. The next hour was a worry as we tried to work out why the trail would be closed. Later that night we realised the man was just telling us to close the gates behind us.

We need to learn more Spanish!

This is Daniel, and his kids. They took us to civilisation for an extortionate fee, in order that we could get a bus back to La Paz.

He took a liking to Jason's binoculars, and got a good look out of them when he stopped putting his fingers over the end.

Unfortunately, someone was mending the new road above.  Our road was closed for two hours while we watched the landslide collapse causing all the dirt and trees to fall on our road.

Daniel then drove extremely fast for the next hour so we could make our bus.  Our bus was the first Bolivian bus to leave on time, so we missed it.

Claire really likes this picture, Daniels kids were so excited about our car journey, they smiled their toothless grins all the time. ( Nothing to do with the sweets they kept eating)

They also loved seeing theirselves on the digital camera but were scared of what it would do to them.

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