“The religious landscape of the Andes is still a country of supernatural rocks, springs and huacas`` -Ronald Wright
Geographically speaking the border between Chile and Bolivia seemed arbitrary. Much of our time in Chile was spent following the coast, and in our minds eyes Chile is a country of crashing surf and desert hills. But for our last few days in the country we put the ocean behind us and climbed up into the Andes. The supernatural energy was palpable well before we crossed the border. The ride from camp to the border was a short 37km ride along a road that snaked among smoldering volcanoes, and salt flats.
With none of the confusion or drama that can often characterize a border crossing we put Chile behind us and said hello to Bolivia. On the Chilean side we dealt with a stern and humourless official. On the Bolivian side we were received, in a spartan office decorated with posters of Jose Sucre and Simon Bolivar, by warm and jovial officials, It was the firs sign of things to come.
The contrast that was immediately obvious lay in the people. Stout, round faced and smiling. The luxury of blending into the crowd, if only superficially, that we enjoyed in Argentina and Chile is no longer possible. Now our interactions with locals have taken a curious twist; though who is more curious about whom is not entirely clear.
A short ride among a maze of indistinguishable roads led us to the tiny village of San Juan, where we were received by an older woman who smiled from within, and exuded the warmth and hospitality that we´ve now come to associate with Bolivia. It´s good to be here.