La Paz to Uyuni Bolivia with a Maniac Driver at Night

 

“Oh my gosh” we declare, as our maniac driver weaves in and out of cement barricades at high speed. This is one fearful ride as we head out on our bus to Uyuni to visit the Salt Flats of Bolivia.

I am pleased to have woken up feeling pretty well and not nearly as bad as yesterday and my altitude sickness is abating.

Ticket Time

maniac driver
©Exploramum and Explorason – heading by bus from La Paz to Uyuni Bolivia

So after a basic hotel breakfast, we head off to book the coach tickets at the nearby bus station to Uyuni

We are absolutely thrilled as we are early enough to get the front seats right at the top, directly in front of the window, over the driver. These are our favorite seats as we can watch the road and not get travel sickness.

However, be aware that often we pay for seats, only for them not to be the seats we actually get when we arrive. It seems that locals often have more influence than us, and we get shoved to the middle or back, with the worst location being the seat by the toilet that cannot recline.

Packing And Moving Luggage

We then head back to the hotel nearby to pack up, returning once more with our big bags which are rolling luggage soft pieces. It is total madness to cross the roads here in La Paz risking our lives and it must be done with great speed. So I believe I can easily dodge it with a small child in tow and only one bag. But I can’t achieve it successfully with two pieces of luggage, thus I end up making several trips to get everything across.

Warm Coats

Fortunately, with our need for winter attire, the bus station has many stores. So we then find warm coats to buy and they cost only approximately $10 each. It takes us about one hour to sift through styles and sizes as the lady will only bring one out at a time acting like we might steal them. But we get there, and we ‘do the deal’, and return once more to the hotel.

World Schooling

Today is his first day after our unofficial ‘school holidays’, and he is not happy but we try to have structured learning time, even if it is world schoolingSo I become proactive in trying to help him rediscover the joy of learning.

Accommodation Woes

I also try hard to book a hotel and a tour at Uyuni but without success. I must have sent out 40 emails. However, I soon learn that in Bolivia, you don’t email, rather you just turn up… and hope!

I also discover that most websites only list dorms in the region and we don’t do dorms. Most, however, don’t show the prices of private rooms.  Even if they happen to show prices, they are just too many accommodation choices, meaning that you can just get there and pay on arrival.

Mad Dash

Meanwhile, time is moving too fast. Before I know it, 6:00 p.m. has rolled around. We only have half an hour to board the bus. So we start moving, winding through the traffic as fast as we can go.

Where To Eat At A Great Price

We discover a great inexpensive restaurant in the center of the bus station. For just under $3 we eat a nice salad, rice, and fries. The standards of hygiene are usually good in a bus terminal also, with extended trading hours. Plus, there is a high turnover of food, helping you to avoid food poisoning.

Bus Station Tax

bus terminal
©Exploramum and Explorason – we meet a lovely lady whilst waiting for the bus

We discover there is an office where we should be paying our bus station tax (I only learned this from the monitor in the restaurant – 2 Bolivianos), and it takes us a few walks of the bus station to work out where to pay. It is tucked away on the side and we hope we have paid the right tax at the right place!

Waiting For The Bus

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©Exploramum and Explorason – playing while we wait for the bus

Waiting until past 7:00 p.m. we discover the bus is late. Interestingly, the local ladies love my boy’s hair, and all stroke it and talk to him. Of course, he hates the touching but the lady is such a cheery soul that he warms to her and poses for a picture. With a long night ahead, it is time to get his energy out by climbing on the bars.

Yes, We Get Front Seats

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©Exploramum and Explorason – unwell from altitude sickness, I am ready for a good sleep

There is about a ½ meter first step up the bus which is pretty drastic for the oldies. We head upstairs and Explorason is pretty excited it is a double-decker bus. Grabbing our front seats and the driver soon works his way through the corridor of buses at the terminal, with only centimeters to spare on each side he does this at such a speed I am astounded.

Traffic

maniac driver
©Exploramum and Explorason – this is the main freeway out of town
As soon as we are in the traffic, we discover that we have a speed-demon maniac driver. He weaves his way through the evening traffic owning the road with force. 

Highway Walking

I am amazed that there are people walking on the highway. Minivans stop with no warning, and market stalls are along the sides of the road, actually on the bitumen.

Traffic Lights

I love the fact that the traffic lights are only two: Red and Green. There is a huge numeric display that gives you how many seconds you have till it changes which averts the need for a caution amber light. Our driver shoots through a few red lights anyway, but then he is a maniac driver!

Security Checkpoints

Somehow, we are held up for over one hour as it seems there is a paperwork problem at one of the authorized checkpoints. This clearly annoys the heck out of our maniac driver, who now has to make up time. As we head towards the country, the roads are a myriad of dusty detours with only a single lane in both directions.

Darkness

Complete dark and a blacked night are to be had outside the bus with no street lights. Our driver is completely crazy and suddenly we realize why no one wants the front seats.

Sitting at the front with a huge glass window before us, we see every scary move he makes. In fact, at first, we simply laugh and the thrill of the ride is fun for Explorason. But the maniac driver overtakes and snakes his way along the road dodging oncoming traffic with complete wanton abandon.

Out Of Control Maniac Driver

Increasing speed means that soon our maniac driver is clearly out of control. He is actually on the wrong side of the road. He discovers he can’t get back into the line of traffic in time and so he hits the ditch on the complete opposite side which is actually beyond the oncoming traffic.

But it gets worse!

Then, without slowing, this maniac driver then charges headlong into the rubble – dodging poles, rubber tires, AND massic cement barricade blocks.
He still doesn’t seem to be slowing down but much to my horror there is a massic cement barricade he can’t dodge.  Suddenly he swings abruptly to the right, through the oncoming traffic and back to the side we are meant to be driving on!

Unbelievable!

Finally, he is forced to stop at another checkpoint. But by this time we have stopped laughing and we are petrified.  Explorason is nearly crying. We are both praying for God to send angels to come to our aid. I haven’t prayed non-stop for a long time like this, but I am sure guardian angels were protecting our bus this night.

Calm

We felt that possibly someone had reported this driver and that this might be why we were now detained once more.
Soon the bus was calm once more and filled with sleeping sounds. The man behind sounds like he is breathing from an oxygen tank – but it is just his snoring. Another one snores with the rhythm of a bandsaw.

How He Endangers Others

I think I am the only one left awake as I notice every passing vehicle flashes our driver.
Our maniac driver is a danger on the road. He only turns his high beam off right as he gets to an oncoming vehicle, blinding hundreds of drivers over the hours.
This is a clear example of someone with a narcissistic personality. Someone who only thinks of themselves and not how their actions affect others.

The Night Goes On – Will We Survive?

At 2:00 a.m. I still can’t sleep. Finally, I pull the front curtain and try to crawl into a comfortable position and hope I am awake in the morning from this hellish ride.

However, this mania driver continues on at great speed to overtake, then brakes to pull in, so it is a rough ride.

Narcissistic Behaviour

This mania driver has to make up time whenever they detain him so we just aren’t winning, but then you never win with a narcissist! This is a lesson in life I am learning even now. For a narcissist behaves like this that “despite having a seemingly strong personality, narcissists lack a core self-worth.”

This is one long night !!

Comments And Questions

  • Have you ever been on transportation that risked your life?
  • Tell us about it.
  • Can you think of a person with a narcissistic personality?
  • How do you handle them?
  • Tell us in the comments below for we would love you to share any tips we can all use.

 

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