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Yungas Road: The Death Road

Day 13

We came back to civilization and toured around the city, La Paz. We signed up for a free walking tour and discovered some cool interesting story about the capital.

We walked by a witches' market, which sells fetus llamas. These items are everywhere.

So why on earth do they sell fetus llamas, or baby llamas (dried up)? Well, this goes back to the culture of Bolivia. In Bolivia, although they are predominantly Catholic, they still have influence of their own pagan religion belief. They believe in Pacha Mama, which is the Mother Earth. If you want to build a house, construction workers require permission from Pacha Mama. The way you get permission is to sacrifice a baby llama, and bury it underground, on the construction site. This will have to be witnessed by a high-priest. Without a sacrifice, no construction workers would dare begin their work.

What if you want to build a mall then, like the picture below? Well, according to rumours (from the tour guide), to build a mall requires several human sacrifice. Is this illegal then? Apparently, there is a grey area in the law where construction companies secretly intoxicate homeless people and sacrifice their body to Pacha Mama. It was once rumoured that a homeless person escaped, and therefore one of the construction workers died from falling off a ledge. The locals described that Pacha Mama was angry and needed enough human sacrifice.

Day 14

Yungas Road, also called Death Road, is the most dangerous road on earth. It is a 60 kilometre road that goes from La Paz to Coroico. It is dangerous because the road width is only 3 metres (about the width of a single vehicle) and the road is around 4,500 metres high. It is estimated in 2006 that 200 to 300 travellers were killed yearly along the road. The road had many cross markings which symbolize the site where vehicles or travellers have fallen.

Welcome to Yungas Road. I honestly don't know why cars still drive on this road.

We bravely signed up for a bike-tour company, Overdose, that took us to the top of Yungas Road. We biked down Yungas Road for 2 hours. Can you believe it? Sometimes, local will try to scare you by trying to push you down the road. If they succeed, you will not survive the 4,000 metre fall. When there are cars driving on the road, the protocol is that bikers have to be on the edge side, and cars on the wall side. Since this protocol is so ridiculous, I was less than 1 metre from falling down a cliff in many occasions.

At the end, after successfully conquered Yungas Road, bikers are treated to a swimming pool and a free T-shirt that says I conquered Yungas Road. Below are some of the pictures for your treat.

That's it guys!

My South America trip is over and I had to go back to Toronto. I guess my next big trip should be to another continent. Perhaps Australia?

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Who is Henry Shew?

Henry is an avid traveler and a tax consultant by profession.


Walk In My Shew is started to document the travel stories and culture experienced in different countries.


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