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Over the blockades into La Paz

Location: La Paz, Bolivia

Bolivia was in chaos when I arrived in June. The borders between Peru and Bolivia were shut, roads closed and towns virtually empty. But I was determined to get into the main city La Paz to see what the fuss was all about. It turned out to be one of the longest journeys of my life... read on!

5 Jun 2005, 9:55AM

After a couple of days in Copacabana I decided it was time to try and get to La Paz. This is the road back to the Peruvian border, Puno, and the start of an epic 12 hour journey that would see me arrive in La Paz at 3am. This walk alone took 2 hours.

4 Jun 2005, 3:10PM

This is the normally busy town of Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Many of the shops and restaurants had closed down after the roadblocks stopped people entering the country.

5 Jun 2005, 11:40AM

Once back in Peru, we decided to try and get into La Paz via the border at Desaguadero. Luckily we didn't have to travel on top of the bus, like these sheep, but sitting in a cramped bus, with a man coughing every five minutes behind me and a woman shouting 'gringiiiiiita' at us, and people shining torches through the windows at every roadblock, it was pretty awful.

5 Jun 2005, 10:40AM

Lovely Lake Titicaca. I took this picture as I walked from Bolivia to Peru!

7 Jun 2005, 10:43AM

A common sight in La Paz for most of June. Every day the marches started at 11am and finished in the afternoon. During this time shops and restaurants pulled down the shutters and closed for the day.

6 Jun 2005, 5:11PM

This is what all the fuss was about. The indigenous Bolivians wanted the government to nationalise gas, while the rich Bolivians wanted autonomy.

7 Jun 2005, 2:57PM

Riot police getting ready to strike.

7 Jun 2005, 2:55PM

Another common sight. The police used tear gas to fend off the rowdy protestors, many of whom threw rocks at the police, while the miners just used sticks of dynamite!

8 Jun 2005, 3:45PM

Some of the miners during a march in La Paz. Just after this was taken they let off some dynamite and I nearly dropped my camera it was so loud! I also screamed like a complete girl!

7 Jun 2005, 3:03PM

Our hostel was up this road. We soon moved to another one!

10 Jun 2005, 10:40AM

Sucre, the day after Congress met. The Bolivians were happy that the vice president Vaca Diez didn't get in after Carlos Mesa resigned. Instead an interim president stood in and promised new elections. There was a victory parade through Sucre. It was pretty moving.

9 Jun 2005, 9:06AM

This is in Sucre, a town south of La Paz. We flew down there to escape the demos in La Paz only to realise the flight was full of journalists and politicians who were coming to Sucre so Congress could decide the future of the country. The airport was shut indefinitely after we'd arrived!