Giving Up on Bolivia

Our very expensive luxury tour bus dropped us in the mining town of Oruro at 3 am saying the road blocks were too dangerous to confront. They attempted to herd everyone onto cabs which for 100 Bolivianos each would deliver a group of 4 to the roadblock, where we were instructed to cross and then catch another “quite expensive” cab to La Paz. Many jumped in, needing to catch flights today or just not wanting to wait things out in this dreary town. I exited the bus to find Tom had already loaded our things into a station wagon. We boarded, but I was wary. Cabs in Bolivia are shady to say the least. Tom felt there was safety in numbers and was adamant about staying with the group. Our cab took off last and quickly took a detour from the group´s route. I shouted ¨no,¨swung open my door, and yelled to Tom to get the kids out. The driver stopped and we insisted in our broken Spanish that he stay in the convoy with the others. Again he took a turn away from the group, and again I flung open my door. Tom demanded he return to the bus office and thankfully he complied. The fact that his cab wreaked of pot was just another strike against him.

We joined a pair of Brits and a Frenchman who also felt taking dodgy cabs in the middle of the night to a roadblock of drunken, dynamite-wielding miners was a less than desirable alternative. One of the Brits, an Oxford law student, made a compelling argument for a refund to the Todo Tours staff since they had many times promised to get us to La Paz despite the roadblocks. The owner refused and is in for an ugly media campaign from our new friend. I can´t say Sixintheworld will recommend Todo Tours to anyone and depending on our future communications with the owner, we may advise others against using them as well. We now realize they never had any intention of taking us all the way to La Paz and only drove as far as Oruro because they were being pressured by a tour group. Instead of being up front with us, they stranded us in the middle of the night in a town not known for its safety.

We´ve holed up in their office and are refusing to leave until the nine of us board our bus to Iquique, Chile and then another onto Peru. We should be to Puno by tomorrow night if we´re lucky. Bolivia will have to wait for another trip. Right now we´re too fed up with her antics to hang around.

7 thoughts on “Giving Up on Bolivia

  1. Hola Familia Andrus!

    Bolivian roadblocks…… It’s hard to find them anywhere else in the world but they are all part of the adventure! It’s a shame you’ll miss the rest of Bolivia, but please try not to feel disappointed on such a wonderful country!

    I’m so excited reading all about your South American experience… enjoy all the rest that is about to come!

    Les mando un beso grande a los seis desde Buenos Aires!


  2. Hello,
    I have followed your travels recently. How exciting. My husband and I are serving a unique mission call for the LDS CHurch. We live in Idaho and are coming to Peru this Saturday. Is there anything we can bring for you. We can leave it in Lima. We will be in Peru until Wednesday. We have been to South America 24 times in 3 years. Bolivia can be a challenge. Hope you make it out quickly and safely. We have actually had a similiar experience in Peru. Ley us know how we can help. We can even get in touch with the Church leaders there if you need help. That is who we are going to be working with. (they are over Bolivia also)
    Mary Zollinger

  3. keep up the good spirits! you’ll laugh about this in a few months.. until then just look forward to great times in Chile and Peru

  4. What a gutsy person you have turned into Anne, must be some of the Gilliom stubborness coming out. Or maybe the Amstutz. Guess Aunt Annie had a lot of spunk and took on the U.S. Navy once for Margie. A story you’ll have to hear from Margie someday! Hope you had a seat belt on as you were opening doors of moving vehicles! Take care and we do hope to hear that you safely made it out of there and that you’ll make it back to the good old U.S.A. soon.

    Love you all,

  5. I hope you guys return home safely…way to be vocal Mama A!!!ill see you guys when you get back!
    SAMOAN HEAT *candy*

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