This photo-blog is designed to work either as a standard blog with images or - by clicking any image - a photo-album. To see an image in full resolution click to the left or right of an image in blog mode. The images were generated from video to give the best possible view of the journey.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Coroico Coca

A street in Coroico

A the bottom of the death road down the Andes from La Paz is the beautiful little hill town of Coroico, site of some of the most select legal coca fields for domestic consumption of coca leaf in Bolivia.

We arrived on our journey to film the death road, but because the road has ony downward traffic from dawn to dusk and upward traffic in the evening we spent an idyllic day in the town. 

Panorama of the central square

Street leading to the promenade overlooking the valley

Panorama of the back streets

Panorama of the back streets

Looking further down the valley towards Beni and the Amazon lowlands

Street leading to the death road

A giant moth as big as a mouse

We decided to take a trip out of town to look at the coca fields, so hired a guy in a ramshackle taxi car who drove us clanking along the little contour road to the back of the town.

Banana palms show the higher temperature at mid-Yungas altitude

Coffee beans drying in the sun

Eventually we reached on of the many coca plantations we had seen coming down the death road.

Looking across to the next fold of the valley in the distance you could see a group of workers tending the plants.

We drove on to where they were working and looked over several fields of small coca plants some of which were in flower and seed.

Coca plant in flower

Our driver in the fields

The plant is difficult to grow from seed and is generally propagated by cuttings.

Mature seed pods becoming ripe

Panoramas of the surrounding country showing patchy clearing and erosion

A little waterfall on the return journey

In the evening we took the journey up the death road in a bus rather than the wild cowboy ride we had in the minivan in the last chapter.

Nevertheless there was wild singing all the way up and a resound cheer and clapping when we made it safely to the top.

Bush fires in the night

La Paz appearing a little below the summit

Coca seeds

Coca tea bags

Coca leaf with the slaked lime for free-basing it as it is chewed in the cheeks

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