You know that feeling you get when you're driving on a remote Bolivian dirt road, and you suddenly find yourself at the end of the barrel of a gun?
This is the conclusion of a story from last year, which I never finished telling. You can find the previous posts here (Part 1) and here (Part 2). But before we get to the end of the story, let's back up. Our group had traveled a full day on sketchy Bolivian roads, then spent the next day hiking to the site of the wreck and salvaging as much as we could. We spent that second night with a Bolivian family, and on the third day hiked back to where our vehicles were parked. At this point, day three is just a blur to me, but it's day four—the day that we drove back home to Cochabamba—that really stands out in my mind.
We were up early to get on the road. It was going to be a long day of driving, and we were hoping not to run into any snags along the way. It was hard not to turn heads with airplane parts strapped to our vehicles!
|DJ's Land Cruiser, with pieces of his airplane's wing strapped on top.|
|A warning to passing drivers to be more careful than the guy who was driving this truck.|
The drive was going somewhat smoothly, with only a few times that our vehicles nearly got stuck trying to go uphill on muddy, rutted roads. About halfway through the drive, I was starting to feel optimistic. The worst of the roads were behind us, and pretty soon it would be smooth sailing back to Cochabamba. But that feeling of optimism would soon give way to a host of new feelings.
|My vehicle, with DJ's following behind. I didn't get any photos of the real excitement |
because our phones were confiscated by the police.
|There is a reason why the airplane is such a useful tool out here! |
The roads can be quite treacherous.
After several phone calls and much deliberation, they decided to confiscate DJ's airplane to test it for drugs. We would all be free to go home, but not before being taken down to the police station to be questioned. By this point it was early morning. We were escorted by the police back to the station where we were questioned one-by-one. After giving my statement, I was finally free to leave.