Bolivian Blockade

If you are a GFW’s fan, then you know how we feel about overnight bus trips, especially overnight bus trips in Bolivia. Painful doesn’t even begin to explain taking a 12-hour bus in the middle of the night across Bolivia’s bumpy, unpaved roads. But as adventure women, we suck it up and make it work. Ear plugs, face masks, endless playlists and the promise of a delicious breakfast at our destination are the only way we are able to make it through one of these horrendous bus rides.

During our travels, we have learned that the power to adapt is essential in most situations encountered on the road. And adapt we do. We found ourselves in one of these precarious situations just a day ago – after traveling over night from Samaipata to Sucre, we found ourselves stranded about five kilometers outside of Sucre.

Driving along the highway, we spotted Sucre just across the valley, mere minutes away. Our minds were filled with the thoughts of our various options for breakfast and strong coffee in the city center and we became anxious to get off the bus. But alas, there was a problem.

We had stopped and it didn’t look like we would be moving anytime soon. Our fellow commuters began to disembark, hinting that this was the end of the line.

Some of our fellow commuters, making their way to Sucre

Just a day before, the Bolivian government passed a new law specifying that any bus over 12 years old was unfit to carry commuters and had to be retired. In protest, the country’s transportation system shut down. Not only were buses not running but massive semi-trucks had been parked across the highway, blocking overnight buses from entering any major city.

Making their way through the blockade, Gillian and Will soldier on

And so we were stuck. Well, we weren’t really stuck. We still had our legs and the will to adapt and so adapt (and walk) is exactly what we did. Heaving our heavy packs onto our backs, we wearily marched the final stretch into Sucre. Considering our exhausted state, we made our way slowly along the highway with our fellow commuters. The closer we came to the city, the more semis blockaded the road, making it impossible for any driver (including taxis) to leave or enter the city.

Leah and our new travel buddy, Kia, hoofing it to Sucre

Yet we soldiered on. We are travelers. We are adventurers. And we will not let a Bolivian national bus strike stop us from our breakfast. That’s a promise.

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