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 groupÂ´s route. I shouted Â¨no,Â¨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 canÂ´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.
WeÂ´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 weÂ´re lucky. Bolivia will have to wait for another trip. Right now weÂ´re too fed up with her antics to hang around.