Sunday, June 24, 2012

Coffee Plantation - the Yungas

Last weekend we spent a day visiting a coffee plantation in the Yungas - a region just an hour or two from La Paz, but a world apart. Picture steep mountainsides covered in jungle-esque vegetation. It's a pretty steep drop from the altitude in La Paz, so the Yungas are warmer, wetter, and full of life. It makes a nice contrast to the city and the altiplano, and it's pretty convenient so a lot of people in the expat community like to chill here on the weekends.

The drive was definitely one of the most beautiful, and memorable in my life.

We took a road called the South Yungas Road. The North Yungas Road is better known as the Death Road - considered the deadliest road in the world for good reason. The South Yungas Road is a slight (though certainly not enough) improvement. It's basically a dirt road, clinging to the side of a cliff. One lane, but not one-way and full of utter speed demons like our driver. See the picture below? See how the cliff is really close to the car, with no guardrail? And see how it's blurry? (Hint: That's because we were flying along that road. Every once in awhile we'd slip on the gravel and the whole bus would take a collective gasp. Fun stuff.)

Basically all my other pictures are utter trash because we couldn't roll down the windows and we were moving at the speed of light.

Anyway... we eventually arrived intact at the coffee plantation. (It's the highest in the world and voted one of the world's ten best coffees - it's available at whole foods too. Makes me wonder why I traveled all the way to Bolivia to taste it when I could have walked four blocks from my DC apartment...) We met these cute little guys:
and sampled some coffee (it seriously needed cream and sugar). 

Then we ate this:

Scariest food ever. It's like a giant shrimp (ha!) or a mini lobster. I'm not sure which but they said to cut off the tail and suck out the head. Yeah. It was among the most unpleasant things I've ever eaten, but we gave it a go. The rest of lunch paled in comparison.

We learned a tiny bit about coffee making. Mostly it left me wondering who thought to make coffee in the first place? It must have been the same person that originally looked at a lobster and said 'I could eat that.' Creativity.

Then we went home.

(one more gratuitous picture of almost death road)

1 comment:

  1. We served in La Paz about 20 years ago. I see the roads haven't changed a bit. I think we took the death road to a really cool series of waterfalls in the yungas. Still one of the most memorable day trips of our FS career. And not just because we were so glad to make it home alive :)