Monday, October 03, 2011

History Channel documents world's (nearly) highest mountain road in Bolivia; are "alien" ruins nearby?


The History Channel ran an interesting documentary “ Death Road”, of a one-and-a-half- lane highway that cuts across the Andes from La Paz, Bolivia, across a 16000 foot pass, and goes all the way down to 2500 feet.

Back in the 1970s, I almost went on vacation there to see Lake Tiahuanaco, and one could have rented a car from Hertz then to drive the road. I suppose it did have to be a 4-wheel drive. So I missed a chance to drive this gem when I was 30 years old.  (By the way, I understand that the over-Andes train doesn't run in Peru any more.) 

This was part of the “Modern Marvels” series.  The driver, a young British man, stopped twice for car inspections, and also to make sure he carried nothing from which drugs could be made.

The road, which runs just 35 miles in the worst part, has no guardrails, over 3000-foot drops.

The government is building a new road, part of which was completed and opened in 2006.  But most settlements are along the old road, and truck drivers get paid for piecework, a kind of "Perfect Storm" economic scenario. 

Somehow, the History Channel documentary reminded me of the 70s movie "Sorcerer" (or "Wages of Fear").

Uphill vehicles have the right of way.

I don't think there is a driveable road that is higher (even in Tibet). 




Wikipedia attribution link for picture of “controversial” (alien?) Tiahuanaco ruins.  How about an Imax movie about this site?  Has any visitor been to Tiahuanaco, or driven the Bolivian road?  (In the 1980s, I met someone at MCC Dallas who had been there once.)


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