2006 Apolobamba Expedition
Charazani to La Paz
Roberto and Mario were up and scurrying about by 3 a.m. so there was no point in attempting to sleep in even an extra fifteen minutes. The packing was mostly done the night before so we had little to do but get the sleeping bags put away and get out to the Land Cruiser. We pulled out of Charazani at 0 dark 30 and there was not a soul to be seen.
The trip from Charazani to La Paz is a shorter trip so we figured we would make La Paz by the early afternoon. Roberto and Mario could taste getting home and nothing was going to slow them down. G and Mario hit the back seats and were again asleep in no time but I opted for keeping a keen lookout from el asiento del teniente, my usual post.
We made our way up out of the valley on the winding dirt road and by daylight we were past the junction leading back north to Pelechuco. The route back from Charazani does not include the poor quality road section where just finding the route is part of the adventure. There are no high passes to cross and before you know it you have crossed over the hills along the Peruvian frontier and through the policia nacional checkpoint shy of the Lake Titicaca hard road.
Achacachi was a mandatory refreshment stop for Roberto and Mario and we found the town was fully decked out for a visit from Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia. The local army garrison was out in parade formation and the bunting stretched across the main street for its entire length through town. We made a quick stop for some refrescos and then got on the road again. I'm guessing that somewhere between Achacachi and El Alto we passed Presidente Morales in one of the official looking vehicles going in the opposite direction.
We arrived in El Alto and cut off the main road to make our way through the warren of streets to drop Mario off at his place. We bid him adieu and continued on to the edge of the valley in which La Paz lies. We stopped at the edge to look upon the town below us before dropping down to meet Dr. Berrios at his warehouse located midway between El Alto and Sagarniga. Robert needed to drop off the company gear and we wanted to meet up with Hugo to talk about where we had climbed and how the trip had gone. We swapped stories about climbing and generally related the success of the adventure. Then we were back on the road and off to the Hotel Calacoto for the afternoon and a well deserved steak at the El Asador, of course.