It sucks to be stuck in traffic at 15,000 feet

Illustration for article titled It sucks to be stuck in traffic at 15,000 feet

This is a queue of trucks in the Chungara–Tambo Quemado pass between Chile and Bolivia, crossing which is one of the few ways Bolivians can reach the Pacific Ocean since Bolivia became a landlocked country in 1883, after losing the War of the Pacific. The pass connects Bolivia’s Highway 4 with Chile’s Highway 11.

It is probably rather unpleasant to idle up there in a truck, in the thin, cold air, under a death ray sun, but the scenery more than makes up for the triple suffering of sunburns, cold, and lack of oxygen: visible from the road are the twin peaks of Parinacota and Pomerape, perfect child’s drawings of volcanic cones which overlook Chungará Lake and the local vicuña population.

Photo by Roman Bonnefoy

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I spent two weeks around La Paz. Humans aren't meant to live at 14,000 ft. I was lethargic every day by 1PM, but so were the natives. There is a reason trees don't grow. If you are going to build a capitol city and want success for your country, build it in a place where the oxygen to the brain is plentiful.