Monday, September 15, 2008


Che's companios, KIA.

Few days of hard work, at last we reached Vallegrande, the nearest town where Che was murdered in 1960s by the Bolivian Anti Guerrilla Police trained by the CIA. It was this little village which we estimated less then 50 people. He was setting up a clinic there. The village is about 60km, 2 hours away from Vallegrande where we were staying. I could feel the tough battle in such terrain condition.

the real Ernesto "Che" in a candide camera with the local before the attack in the village.

it was in this small and simple school that Che settled.

In Vallegrande, we met a Chinese man from Fujian, China that came here to set up a local restaurant. The first day we visited this restaurant at a non lunch time, we already suspect that only Chinese would open door for business while other restaurant would have their afternoon nap or resting for dinner. He was selling local food that suits the local taste but spiced up with the Chinese cooking filled with little but important ingredients. Mr Ho was a happy man here.

Mr Ho's son came here to help his business for 4 years. they had not refreshed on speaking Mandrain for many years. our appearance was a surprise to the. Does he looked like one of an actor in the show "Kung Fu" by Stephen Chow? the one that show backside...

From Vallegrande, our next destination was Samaipata. the road was good and we are prepared for the unexpected road blocks made by the potesters. surprisingly the pile of block were still there but unmanned. trucks had run over it thus making the road usable. it was again asphalted road and Hope Too was able to cruise along the winding road.

Just after half hour after our lunch along the smooth road, we saw buses, trucks and cars jammed on the other side of the hill. ‘Oh, could it be another road block?’ as we approached nearer, it was a landslide. as usual, I would stop, Sam with Hope Too and I do terrain appreciation. the pile of rocks were too hugh, almost the size of a Subaru viki. by the side nearer to the slope of the valley, it was covered by smaller stones and might be passable with Hope Too. the only danger was Hope Too and I would fall into the valley on our right side while ‘climbing’ through the pile of stones. I unloaded the 2 big aluminium panniers and clear the stone way. the locals were so nice that they made a way for me, using their bare hands to clear away the rocks. I rammed through easily with the help of the locals and Sam behind me pushing. Safe! they clapped their hands while I install the panniers ready to go. Looking back, they are still jammed by the pile of stones. I went back, helping in all ways, clearing the stones for them like what they have done for us until a car could cross the obstacle. I felt that they are able to manage the condition and there we go again!

Samaipata was a peaceful but touristic town. we are staying in a hostel of 4 rooms managed by a family. Camilio was only 28 years old and had 3 pretty daughters, aged 9, 8 and 1. He and his wife is managing this hostel and occationally would bring tour to the local sights. The eldest daughter, Alexandra, pronounced as ‘ali-han-da’ in Spanish, was very matured. she was able to help us in all our need and accompany us to dinner. her dining etiquette was definated better then us. thumbs up and new friend made!

the sunday market in Samaipata, as we like to look and feel people! can you see a 'sister' in the picture? they are very friendly!

we visited El Fuerte, a UNESCO site. again, it was old rock. frankly speaking, we are not very fond of such things but we found that the ants and plants here are nice!

we are shortage of money here. last ATM withdrawal was one week ago. there’s a bank here that is able to use our AMEX, VISA electrons, Masters or what ever card to withdraw local currency but charge a 5% commission. we are ok with that but the bank here seems not to recognized any of our card from Singapore. We used the AMEX, Citibank’s visa electrons (debit) and DBS master debit. NON WORK!!! then we saw a Caucasian couple sitting easily with their VISA card and able to withdraw cash with the bank! What is happening to Singapore’s bank? isn’t Singapore going to be a financial hub? we always had problem with the Singapore’s bank card, it doesn’t seems working here. The bank only change US dollars base on cash and we are keeping the US$40 for emergency. Still holding to some hundreds of Brazilian reals and Argentina Peso, no body wants them.

Out of instinct, I suddenly reminded myself that I still had 100euros hidden in my sole of my boots. I would try it with the german tour operator and they accepted it! Michael Blendinger, a biologist, organize eco tour with his wife. though we did not take up their tour, his wife Gabri was kind enough to help us.

we would be packing up and get ready for tomorrow, the crucial part of our Bolivia journey: SANTA CRUZ. Many travelers are stucked in Samiapata because there isn’t any transport to the other town at current situation. Many warn us about going to Santa Cruz. I had to go there because my Brazilian visa was not made clear about expiry date. secondly we had to withdraw money from ATM to survive the last 600km to Brazil, with would take us about 3-6 days to complete.

Just had a clean up on Hope Too’s chain and tyres from the dirt. His rear tyre suffered from many cuts from the stones along the road. some were stucked inside the rubber and we leave it. the spocks of the tyre were lose. I put Hope Too on double stand and shake the tyre with both hands, hearing lots of noise. I tighten each lose spocks and made the wheel run freely on first gear. it is not straight. the tyre seems deformed.

1) have not change engine oil since in Germany
2) piston ring suspected to worn off
3) Deformed tyres, might caused by wheel bearing or spocks
4) Santa Cruz’s stability for traveller’s safety

will keep you guys updated when we reached Santa Cruz.

happy Mid Autumn festival! does the moon seems rounder in Singapore?

No comments: