Titikaka lakutik, Uyuniko gatzagara / From Lake Titicaca to Salar de Uyuni

Categories Bolivia

NOTE: EVERY ARTICLE IS WRITTEN IN BASQUE AND ENGLISH. SCROLL DOWN TO READ THE ENGLISH VERSION. 

EUSKERAZ ( 2016/12/06 – 2016/12/12 )

Bolivia, hego ameriketako populakuntza indigena handiena, nazio anitzen herrialdea eta batik bat, Guarani, Quechua eta Aimaren lurraldea da, Pachamama ( Ama lurra ) jainkosatzat dutelarik. Magikoa, erroak bizirik mantentzen dituen herria, Inken seme-alabak dira. Aldiz hego hemisferioko eskualderik behartsuena ere bada, koka hosto ekoizle nagusiena izateaz gain. Evok esaten omen duenez, boliviar bakoitzak urtean kilo ta erdi koka hosto behar ditu, altuerari aurre egin eta lanean aritzeko. La Paz-eko merkatu zentraletik gauero ateratzen diren koka hostoz beteriko trailer guzti horiek, herritarren kontsumorako izango ote dira? Auskalo …

Oraingo honetan egun gutxi batzuk besterik ez ditut pasako Bolivian. Duela bi urte motxila bizkarrean hartuta, basamortu, oihan eta meategiak zeharkatu genituen Ana eta Mikelekin batera. Bidai honetan, hegoalderago geratzen diren  Txile ta Argentinara gerturatuko naiz.

Titikaka lakutik, Copacabanara iritsi ta itsasontziz eguzkiaren irlaraino joan naiz (Isla del Sol). Eta irlara iritsi bezain laster, aspaldian entzuten ez nuen hizkuntza entzuten det, bi emakume euskeraz hitz egiten, a ze ilusioa! Baztango eta Lekeitioko bi andereño. Bolondres gisa Cochabanban lanean ari diren Iruñako beste bi neska ta extremadurako mendiko gida ta magoa den mutil bat ere ezagutzen ditut. Irlako iparraldetik itsas bazterrak bisitatzen ari garela, “aupa ta aio”-ka ari diren beste gazte batzuk gurutzatzen ditugu, Iruñakoak hauek ere. Eztakit ba Isla del Sol-en edo Beriainen gauden. Beste batean Machu Picchuk duen edertasunari buruz ari nintzen baina Isla del Sol ez da motz geratzen, turistikoa den arren, Boliviako txoko polittenetako bat dela ere esango nuke. Gainera irlako iparraldeak bere sena mantentzen du, bertako etxe eta arrantzeleen bizimoduarekin.

Copacabanatik, La Paz-era joan naiz. El Alto-tik behera, ta mendi magaletik gora, bailara zeharkatzen duen fabela erraldoi bat dirudi La Paz-ek. Lehorte arazo larriak ari dira sufritzen azken aldian, neri berriz El Alto-ra iritsi baino 20 km lehenago, izugarrizko kazkabarrak harrapatu nau  bidean eta kaleak 40 zm-tako erreketan bilakatu dira 20 minututan. Ezinezkoa izan zait bizikletarekin zeharkatzea. La Paceña-ko (bertako garagardoa) kamio baten gainean jarri eta garagardo botilla hutsez inguratua, bizikleta ta guzti gerturatu naute hirira. El Alto eta La Paz-en berriz argi ibili behar da, batez ere gringo itxura duen ni bezelako turista txuri batek. Hiriaren erdian, munduko kartzela ospetsu eta arriskutxuenetariko bat aurkitzen da, San Pedro.

San Pedro barnean polizia ere ez da sartzen, presoak dira kartzela kudeatzen dutenak. Alkaide rol-a 4 erahilketengatik kondena betetzen duen preso batek du eta bere laguntzaileak, “Los delegados”, ez dira askoz finagoak. Presoek lana egin behar dute metro karratu gutxi batzuk alokatu edota eguneroko jana ordaintzeko. Egunean otordu bakarra da dohakoa, gehiago jan nahi izan ezkero, irabazi egin behar da. Arotzak, sukaldariak, elektrizistak, kameluak, … San Pedro, hiri erdian dagoen beste hiri bat da, eta hemen gertatzen dena, hemen epaitzen da, ez dago legerik. Kartzelako dorreak hutsak daude, ez dago zaindaririk eta kanpokaldean soldata xixtrin bat duten 20 polizia besterik ez daude. Duela urte batzuk turistak sartzen uzten zituzten, aldiz lapurreta eta kokaina bidai berezi baten ondorioz, bisita hauek galarazita daude. Lonely Planet-ek oraindik ez du informazio hau eguneratu eta turista asko gerturatzen da kartzelako morboak eta bertan saltzen den azukre txuriak erakarrita.

Gutxiengoa bada ere, hiriak badu beste aurpegi bat eta kasu honetan neri hiriko leku ponpoxo batean egotea suertatu zait bi egunez, zaindua dagoen urbanizazio batean, alegia. Duela bi urte ezagutu nuen Ana-ren etxean. Bera erdi alemana, erdi boliviarra da eta beste hiru pertsonekin batera leku eder batean bizi da. Utzi didaten gelatik La Paz-eko hiriaren panoramika politta ikusten da.

Wayna Potosi mendia igotzeko planak bertan behera joan dira eguraldi txarraren ondorioz. Hirian euria goitik-behera eta mendian elurra mara-mara. Eguraldi hobean bila hegoalderuntz joango naiz, Uyuniko gatz basamortura. Uyuni-tik San Pedro de Atacamako trabesia famatua aukeratako bat da. Laguna Verde, Laguna Colorada, 5000 metrotara dauden Geyserrak, terma naturalak, Dali-ren basamortua ta azken sumendiak pasata, San Pedro de Atacamara. Basamortuak aldiz Chimborazoko gailurrak baino errespetu gehiago ematen dit. Gutxienez 15 litro ur eraman beharko nituzke eta basamortuko hondarretan bizikleta eskuz tiratzeak ez nau bereziki motibatzen, are gutxiago guzti hori bakarrik zeharkatzeak. Duela bi urte 4×4 batean hiru egunez egin nuen bide hau eta basamortuan, ezerezarean erdian eta elurpean, bizikletari tiraka zebiltzan txirrindulariak ikusita ta gero, horrelako erronkei aurre egiteko interesa erabat galdu nuen. Beraz Dakar-eko monumentura gerturatuko naiz bizikletaz, trabesia egun bateko etapan laburtuz. Eta hemendik, Argentinara, San Salvador de Jujuy-ra.

ENGLISH   ( 2016/12/06 – 2016/12/12 )

Bolivia, the biggest multiethnic indigenous country in South America, with more than 30 different languages, of which the most spoken ones are Guarani, Quechua and Aymara and whose main Goddess is Pachamama, the Mother Earth. Magic country who keep their roots alive, the daughters and sons of the Incas. Nevertheless it is also the poorest country in the American south hemisphere, apart from being the main coca leaf producer. Presumably, according to Evo, every Bolivian needs one and a half kilos of coca leaves per year to combat the altitude illness and to have enough energy for work. I wonder if the destination of those huge trucks full of coca leaves going around every night from the main market of La Paz are for own-consumption?

This time I will stay in Bolivia just for few days. Two years ago I came with Ana and Mikel as a backpacker and we crossed the desert, the jungle and the mines. In this trip, I will ride to the southern countries, Chile and Argentina.

From Lake Titicaca to Copacabana and by boat to Isle of the Sun ( Isla del Sol ). Surprise, as soon as I arrive at the isle, I listen two women speaking in Basque, amazing! Two teachers from Biscay and Navarre ( Regions of the Basque Country, Biscay whose capital city is Bilbao and Navarre,  Iruñea / Pamplona ). I also met two girls from Iruñea who are voluntarily working in a school of Cochabamba and a guy from Extremadura, Spain, who is a mountain guide and a magician. On the road to the north cliffs, we also meet more basque people. I am wondering if we are in Isla del Sol or in the Basque Country. Machu Picchu is a paradise but Isla del Sol is also another one. Incredible cliffs, mountains, fishermen villages, … I would say it is one of the highlights of Bolivia.

Riding from Copacabana to La Paz alongside Lake Titicaca I end up close to El Alto.  From El Alto, at hight of 4200 meters, downhill inside the valley and back again uphill to the mountains, La Paz looks like a giant shanty neighbourhood. La Paz and the nearby regions are suffering from a terrible drought, however, 20 kms before my arrival to El Alto, I come across with a strong hail which converts the streets in 40 cm high rivers. No way to cross them by bike, therefore I hitch-hike and a Paceña ( local beer) truck helps me crossing them. I and “Fahrrad”, the bike, are surrounded by empty beer bottles. God dammit! At least they could have been some of them full! 😉 I end up in the depth of “El Alto”, which is not precisely the safest place in earth, specially for white crazy gringo touring cyclists like me. I must keep an eye opened. But it is a while since I am extremely relaxed in this trip and I do not pay that much attention to risks. In the middle of La Paz stays one of the most famous and dangerous prisons in the world, San Pedro.

Not even the police get into San Pedro. They are the prisoners who manage the penitentiary city. The role of warden is performed by a prisoner serving a sentence of four murders and his team, the delegates ( Los delegados), do not have a  better CV than him. Every prisoner has to work in order to rent a couple of square meters to live in and get some food. Only one meal per day is for free. If they want to eat more, they have to work as cooks, electricians, drug dealers, … San Pedro is a city inside another city, which has no written laws and what happens here, stays here. There is no one in the surveillance towers and outside the prison, there are only 20 powerless policemen with a ridiculous salary. Few years ago, tourists were allowed to get into the prison, but due to attacks and crazy drug trips, this visits are forbidden nowadays. The information given by Lonely Planet has not been updated and many tourists try to live this experience drawn by morbidness and willing to taste the so called white sugar, which apparently is much better than the one from the outside.

Although it is minor part of the city, there is also another side of the coin. And in this case, I will stay in the posh area. A privileged residential area, with nice views to the city and under surveillance by security guys. I will stay at Ana’s apartment, a girl a knew two years ago when I came as a backpacker. She is half german, half Bolivian and she shares the flat with other three people. From my room I can see nice views of La Paz, not bad at all.

The plans to climb up the Wayna Potosi went down due to the bad weather. It is pouring in the city and snowing at the top of the mountains. I will ride to the south looking for better weather, to Salar de Uyuni. One of the options is to cross the desert through “Laguna Verde”, “Laguna Colorada”, the geysers, the warm thermal springs and Dali’s desert until San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Nevertheless, the desert instils me even more than the Chimborazo volcano. I would need at least 15 litres of water and carrying 50 kgs of my bike through the sand of the desert does not really motivate me. Furthermore, crossing it alone, requires a braveness which I don’t have. Two years ago I crossed the desert with a four wheel drive. Once there, I saw cyclists in the middle of nowhere, under the snow carrying their bikes in the sand with a tremendous effort. That discouraged me completely to dare with this kind of challenges. Riding from Uyuni village to the Salar and the Dakar monument will shorten the adventure in a one-day trip, which is perfect. Next stage will be San Salvador de Jujuy, Argentina.

Isaak Elduaien
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