A day we spent traveling down south to Tupiza from La Paz. To avoid traveling in fridge on wheels, we bused to Oruro and then trained to Tupiza instead of taking the 16-hour overnight direct bus from La Paz.
The stories of buses broken down on the way to destination are prevalent in Bolivia. And it happened to us. Luckily the bus died outskirts of Oruro city., our destination. We were standing next to our bus with our luggages on the roadside debating what to do next. A private car pulled over and spoken something we don't understand. I asked, "cuanto es por tren estacion". He replied, "Viente". We got into the car. Half way through he pulled out his cell phone and showed me a movie made in China and also a popular traditional song (草原之歌)sang by a Chinese boy on YouTube. He asked whether we are Cina. I said yes. I asked in return whether he likes the traditional song sang by the boy. He nodded. We both laughed out loud. I am amazed at the fact that a Bolivian man who speaks no mandarin, through the internet, got exposed to and enjoyed a mandarin song by a Chinese boy in a far away country. The beauty of technological advancement!
Another funny and also annoying thing in Bolivia is everything seems negotiable and they don't seem to be held accountable for their words. At the train station the staff signaled us to do the luggage storage in main entrance. He quoted 3 Boliviano per person. He then accompanied us to walk over to the storage room, the lady quoted us 5 Boliviano. I then looked at him and asked him one more time the quote. This time he said 5 boliviano per person. Without hesitation I reminded him of his earlier quote. He exchanged some words with the lady in Spanish and agreed with the 3 boliviano per person. We did store our luggage there so that we didn't have to lug them around the town looking for food.
Surprisingly, most restaurants were closed. It could be because of Sunday or something else. We found one and the cost was outrageously expensive, more pricey than USA.
The train started on time at 7pm sharp. 13.5 hour train ride through and along the Andes mountain to get us to Tupiza, a city close to Chile border at 2500m above sea level. This is where we will start our Salar de Uyuni trip, the highlight of our trip.
Train pulled in at Tupiza train station at 8:30am. Roaming around the town for photo opportunity as well as doing the 3 hr horse back riding to the canyon side where legend has it that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid met their end at the hands of the Bolivian army near Tupiza, concluding their notorious string of bank robberies and raids.
This is a rather lovely laid back town.
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