Saturday, March 20, 2021

Deadliest Journeys - Bolivia: The Road Of Death



 There are two worlds in Bolivia. That of the Altiplano, the highlands, perched at an altitude of more than 4000 meters. 

And that of the Amazon basin, which tops out at a few hundred meters above sea level. Between the two, there is a transition region, made of vertiginous precipices and trails that descend the Andean Cordillera in a few tens of kilometers. .

 It is the region of the Yungas, a country where the horizontal does not exist. In these valleys winds a road, the only means of communication between La Paz, the administrative capital of the country, perched on the Altiplano, and the riches of the Amazon basin.

 The Bolivians nicknamed it "el camino de la muerte", the road to death. Highest point: the La Cumbre pass, 4700 meters, at the exit of La Paz. 78 kilometers further, we are barely 900 meters.

 Along this road of the impossible, we follow the story of a community of cocaleros, coca growers clinging to the slopes of the mountain. To carry their loads to the road, they stretched makeshift cables made of simple iron wires across the valley. An infernal zip line, nearly 400 meters long, 200 meters above the ground. 

We also share the daily life of a vachero, a truck driver who transports cows from the Amazon basin to La Paz, the highest metropolis in the world. 25 hours of journey on the road to death, done without stopping. Because you have to go very quickly: if a cow dies, the driver pays.

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