Desaguadero, Bolivia, Rem Sapozhnikov
February 2008
There is town of Desaguadero in just a few minutes drive from Guaqui. Rather there are two towns under the same name: one is Bolivian, another is Peruvian. Here everybody is engaged in trading, and somebody in smuggling. The best selling goods are cylinders with gas, which is much more expensive in Peru. Under the conditions of present unemployment in the both countries it is difficult to resist temptation to «earn some extra money on gas». Peruvians ship plastic goods and washing detergents to Bolivia, also trying to gain on price difference.

Drugs are much more sinister smuggling items. Peruvian criminals are the most successful in this business. There is hardly a day that Bolivian drug control agencies did not intercept the cocaine shipment brought from Peru. One idea occurs: could Bolivia be intentionally «packed» with cocaine so that to compromise the government of Evo Morales and create a negative image of Bolivia in the world mass media? It is quite possible. Everybody knows that empire resorts to anything to get rid of the Indian president.

Bicycle carriages are the main transport means of Desaguadero. They run along the bridge connecting Bolivia and Peru, preferring to ship «hard-to-get goods» rather than passengers. The police are treating these «shuttle operations» rather indulgently, letting the enterprising rickshaws to earn extra money.

Hostal Panamericana

Peruvian side of Desaguadero:

Bridge that connects Bolivia and Peru:

Tourists «don't care a damn» about all these particulars of Desaguadero life. The most important for them is to take pictures at the «neutral zone». It is on the bridge: on the one side there is a poster «Welcome to Peru», on the other one – «Welcome to Bolivia». And if someone by chance «violates the border» he won't be punished.

From the bridge there opens a wonderful view to the Titicaca lake: cold blue waters under the sharp blue skies! «Above the eternal peace» that is how you want to call the panoramic pictures of Titicaca.

↑ Click for detailed view ↑

The similar peace reigns at the cemetery of Desaguadero.


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