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Touratech Travel Time 03_2011_en

26 to get the machine onto dry land, with the engine still running. Late in the evening, we reached the gold digger village of Guanay. Enjoying a cold beer on the plaza, we then pre- pared the stages for the next few days. Ahead of us are some of the least known tracks in Bolivia. The data given in the vari- ous maps is contradictory, the location of the few marked villag- es varies considerably. We were also warned about numerous torrential rivers which cross the track. With tanks filled to the brim, we set off on the next morning; the supply situation is totally unclear, as is the question of whether the road we want to follow to Sorata, where we intend to rejoin the plateau, is even passable. What looks like a track along the river bank on the maps turns out to be a twist- ing up and down over countless ridges of hills. Red soil, inter- spersed with rocks, ruts full of water from tropical thunderstorms, all add up to a very tricky road surface requiring full concentra- tion all the way. As can be expected, our travelling speed is on the low side, and it often takes hours of gruelling riding to get from one village to another, not that there are that many of them. These dwellings are generally no more a few huts along the road, with banged together slats of wood with slits, and a steep roof made of palm leaves. Half naked children play on the road and dogs slink round the huts hoping for some morsels of food from the women cooking on open fireplaces. Having experienced a strange smell of burning for a while now, I had obvious- ly assumed that people were probably burning plastic waste. Once the road had flattened off I stopped, and immediately had an acrid smell in my nos- trils. Smoke came from the steer-Poor visibility on the »Camino de la muerte« (top). Tough tracks need….talent for improvisation (bottom left and right).