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There are over five billion kilometres of roads on the planet.
Now, even the most inaccessible places can be reached by car...
..over high mountain passes...
Confront your fear.
..across vast lunar landscapes...
This is mad! Oh, my God!
..and along bone-shaking jungle tracks.
Oh, my God!
Slowing down would be complete madness.
These roads may be seen as a sign of progress,
but driving them requires skill...
What would happen if the wheel came off the edge?
-Look, there's a cross there.
..and a steady nerve.
That was the most frightening thing I've ever done in my life,
I might burst into tears now.
Comedians and good friends Phill Jupitus and Marcus Brigstocke
are in Bolivia, South America.
Whoa, keep it roadside, brother!
These two funnymen are taking on a deadly serious challenge -
to drive from the depths of the Amazon jungle
to the high altitude city of Potosi.
I can feel my heart pounding away.
I'm not sure how much further I want to go up this baby.
On the way, they'll have to survive Bolivia's infamous Road of Death...
You know what? The fact that you can't see how much is down there...
-Makes it worse?
-Is... Yeah, is terrifying.
..run the gauntlet through bandit country...
-Have we got police on our tail?
-We have, we've got coppers.
..and put their lives in each other's hands...
-Can't see a thing.
-We are driving blind.
..as they take on some of the world's most dangerous roads.
How do you feel about just driving into a lake, Phill?
I feel very weird.
This programme contains some strong language
-It's a dusty country.
Phill and Marcus are used to being on tour,
but Bolivia is way off their usual circuit.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid died here,
and Ernesto "Che" Guevara died here.
Yes. The people who are most famous have died here.
Seems a bit...
Luckily, you've got Buzzcocks, I'm Radio 4.
They start their journey
outside the town of Coroico in the sub-tropical Yungas Valley,
the location of some of Bolivia's most remote and notorious roads.
But before they go anywhere,
they'll need a car that's up to the challenge ahead.
Here's our man! Hola.
-All right? Phill.
-Nice to see you.
-Good to meet you, man.
-OK, I would like to show you the car.
It's a very typical Bolivian car,
everybody use one, especially on these kinds of roads.
They'll be driving through rough and remote country,
so they'll have to be prepared for any eventuality.
Some places, it's not possible to find a gas station,
so you are going to need to buy a couple of extra plastic tanks,
and the hoses for transport the fuel from your roof to your tank.
That's quite manly. I'm not sure I can do it.
'I'm a terrible driver.
'The Friday before I left,'
I smashed my car up, at home,
on a garage forecourt and took three cars out with me.
You're going to need some extra tools for driving in Bolivia.
-A complete kit for repairs.
Here you have all the things that you may need.
It's just not going to happen!
I can barely deal with my own bicycle!
Yeah. Oh, my God!
'This is a grand adventure.
'We've never sort of done anything like this.'
I'm excited about that, though. I mean, he's a, you know,
Phill's a good mate. Now.
This is day one.
What I'm most worried about is edge-of-mountain driving.
You know, death. There!
There, that side of the car - death is there,
You do that and you're dead. That.
-Marcos, thank you, my friend.
-Have a nice trip.
-Thanks a lot.
-Do we have your number if we're in trouble?
-Just in case.
-Because mobile reception's solid, right?
-Yeah, it's good coverage everywhere, mobile?
-You never know.
Phill plucks up the courage to drive first.
-Still in neutral!
I think we should establish which side of the road.
-Can we just be clear?
It says here, "Most Bolivians use the middle."
-It is that side, isn't it?
Their journey will take them 850 kilometres across Bolivia.
Starting in the low-lying jungle town of Coroico,
they'll have to ascend over 3,000 metres,
to the peak of the silver-mining city of Potosi.
They'll drive up steep forest tracks, over desert roads,
across salt lakes and terrifying mountain passes.
Their aim is to reach Potosi and its historic silver mine,
almost five kilometres in the sky.
But before they do anything,
Phill and Marcus face a truly deadly challenge.
The road between Coroico and La Paz
is known locally as "Camino del Muerte",
and recognised all over the world as Bolivia's infamous "Road of Death".
HE BREATHES DEEPLY
I can't begin to imagine how they built the damn thing.
-That's what's getting me.
I can only assume it was a path that was used by horses, wagons maybe.
-That they just shored up.
You're not hooting at the corners, my friend.
-Ah, shit! You...
-No, yeah. No. Yeah. No!
This narrow road clings to the mountain edge
for a hair-raising 64 kilometres.
The slightest mistake means a lethal drop of over 1,000 metres.
-I'll-I'll say it - I'm anxious. I am anxious.
-Oh, man! This is now...
I-I feel, I feel anxious.
I'm just going to take this real easy.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Whoa! Someone comes... There's a car, there's a car!
Yeah, we get the inside here.
-Do we get the inside and...?
-Yeah, we do.
-Do they have to...?
This road is so dangerous that
the normal rules of the road don't apply.
Luckily for Phill and Marcus,
they have to drive on the inside track uphill,
while vehicles coming down drive on the outside
so they can see over the cliff edge.
-You all right?
-I'm watching the ditch on this side.
-You got it?
-I'm good. Are you good?
I mean, that arrow is so redundant.
Yeah, we'll keep left. We will keep left. Oh!
You're finding the beeping comforting.
-There's something coming. I see smoke on the road.
-I agree, I agree.
Here's a passing point. Shall I pause here?
Well, no. We... We carry on!
I know, but given that it's a passing point...
-Seems reasonable, right?
-OK, all right. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Are you keeping well?
It's... I-I shit you not...
Being on the outside there, yeah.
It's, er, it's a bit spicy.
We are a long way up in the sky!
That's... That's what this is! How are you holding up there, brother?!
Need a little quiet time?
Oh, man, look at your face!
Come on, come on. Let's just hug it out.
PHILL BREATHES DEEPLY
I'd rather be driving the dangerous bit,
than sat in the passenger seat, having this constant fear whiplash.
It's weird. It's just...weird.
-The beep feels very arbitrary at this stage.
If anyone is coming in the opposite direction,
I'm getting out of this car and just punching them in the headlights!
I know we're worried about the plummet-y side,
-but the high side is a bit loose.
-That could slide. Yeah.
It could fall on us.
Bloody hell! Baba O'Riley!
Um, do you want to watch the old, er...?
-Yeah, I'm looking...
-Oh, fuck off!
-Look, there's a cross there.
-Don't stop, man! Just get by the fence!
Whoa, whoa! No, no, no! To the left, man.
Do we want...? Do you want to jump out and look at that?
-I kind of don't, no. Not now. I'm a little queasy.
What have we got there?
-Where people have died.
Fernando Larico and Deysy Larico Poma.
-That's 2002, dude.
They're memorials of people that have, er, plunged over the edge.
-Oh, mountain bikers!
-Here we go, mountain bikers. Whoa!
TOOTS HORN You cock!
Wrong side of the road, looking the wrong way. Amazing!
Before 2006, when a new bypass road opened,
it was estimated up to 300 people a year lost their lives on this track.
It was also the scene of Bolivia's worst ever road accident.
In 1983, a bus veered off the cliff, killing 100 passengers.
I hope they're expecting...
Look, look! Orange men, climbing on a rope down there.
The local search and rescue team are on standby 24 hours a day,
and are often on training exercises.
There he goes.
-Oh, wow! He's away.
-I wonder how many people survive, if they do go over?
My feeling is, if you went over in a vehicle, you would be so
washing-machined and crushed inside, it's game over then.
How long have you been working the road as a rescue team?
Wow! Are you always looking for more volunteers?
When was the last big emergency you were called out to?
When was that?
That's a big one and that's recent.
Is it difficult emotionally, sometimes, this job?
What's your advice to us for the road we're about to drive up?
-Senor, muchas gracias.
-Yeah. Thank you so much.
-So, we have his number, right?
We've got... Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
That was a bit much for me, just cos you could see that he...
and he started crying. and it wasn't...
the emotion of the situation -
you knew that that guy had gone down the cliff
and found a car with a dead family in it, you know. It's just...
It's beyond, you know, my level of comprehension.
-When you look at that road over there, right?
You see where that's all cut away
beneath the road that we're just about to go on?
-Yeah, yeah. All right, yeah.
-That's a ridge and a ledge.
Yeah, I needed that pointed out, thanks(!)
HE BREATHES DEEPLY
How is it down there?
That's... That's ex... That's ex... That's some excitement!
MARCUS BREATHES DEEPLY
PHILL LAUGHS UPROARIOUSLY
MARCUS BREATHES DEEPLY
So what we need is for this road to get narrower and tricksier.
It's a lot colder, eh? I mean, it's coming...
It's getting on for evening.
Yeah, it's getting dark and we don't want to be...
I don't want to be on this road when it's dark.
We want to at least get to the tarmac.
They are now 3,000 metres above sea level and,
with the weather closing in,
they've got the added pressure
of trying to navigate through low-level cloud.
You know what? The fact that you can't see how much is down there...
-Makes it worse?
-Is... Yeah, is terrifying.
Especially this bit! Jesus!
Now... Oh, God!
Shit the bed!
Are you all right there?
I'm OK, I'm OK, but it, but it, but it's a bit...
PHILL LAUGHS UPROARIOUSLY
I can actually feel you trying to brake...with your feet.
Look! Look at the road we have driven.
-Yeah, I feel a bit sick.
-That's an incredible, incredible view.
So I wonder if we're not about to hit tarmacadam.
Oh, is this the other end of the Road of Death?
After five terrifying hours, they reach the main road into La Paz...
much to Phill's relief.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Lovely normal road! Thank you.
MAN SPEAKS SPANISH
(He's crazy, he's crazy.)
Tragically, just three days later on the same stretch of road,
a bus plummeted over the edge, killing 18 people.
With the death road behind them,
they've still got a 70-kilometre drive to reach the city of La Paz.
Look back down that valley at the cloud.
At the top of the cloud.
We'll be looking down on land-o.
Eventually, they reach the city limits.
How are you doing there, yawny?
Yeah, I'm tired man, tired.
It's been a long day.
Bolivia's second largest city sits in a natural bowl
3,600 metres above sea level.
It's the country's main commercial hub and all roads lead here,
creating heavy traffic and a free-for-all,
for both drivers and pedestrians.
I don't know what the deal is with zebra crossings here.
Whoa! Let's let that dude go.
I imagined same rules but who knows?
-CAR HORNS BEEP
Lady, you go!
Yeah, yeah, beep me. Beep me all you want!
I think that if the famous actor Richard Wilson ever came here...
What's that over there?
That's a zebra, my friend.
-That's a happy zebra.
-There's another one!
In an unusual road safety initiative,
the city of La Paz is employing people to dress up as zebras.
Animals ushering people across these busy streets may look ridiculous,
but it's saving lives and creating employment.
So the zebras, it turns out,
a great many of them are, like, troubled kids,
got into trouble with drink and drugs,
and the programme gets them on the straight and narrow,
and then helps them to help out other people.
It's properly cool.
Oh, indeed, yeah.
I'm looking forward to getting out onto the open road.
We have got a long-arse drive today, haven't we?
Today, Marcus and Phill must cover 350 kilometres
over the country's vast southern Altiplano.
The route will take them along bandit-ridden highways and
isolated desert roads to the edge of the world's biggest salt lake.
The road out of La Paz is one of the best in the country.
It's a trade route for natural resources
like cocoa leaves, zinc and tin.
But Phill and Marcus have been warned -
it's also used by dangerous criminal gangs
transporting drugs and stolen cars.
Have we got police on our tail?
We have, we've got coppers.
-I'm not even sure what the speed limit is.
The authorities are with us.
How much Spanish have we got between us?
-Not enough. No, it was an ambulance!
-It was an ambulance!
You were gawping in the mirror,
saying we've got police on our tail, it was a bloody ambulance!
I don't know what "ambulancia" means!
We need fuel.
Well, we're OK for a little bit
but we just passed a lot of places where we could have refuelled.
-This will be the new road, eventually.
They've got some work to do.
I've got to tell you, my friend,
-that after all that, this is quite fun.
Oh, there's something coming the other way.
-No number plates. That's a stolen one.
-Oh, hello, there's a few of them!
-Yeah, three in a row.
Four stolen cars came absolutely tear-arsing down that dirt road.
They were motoring.
This remote desert region is almost impossible to police.
Close to the Chilean border, it's been a rat run
used by criminals for centuries.
Today, stolen cars are smuggled into the country
and sold on the black market.
A few kilometres down the road, Phill and Marcus stumble upon
a military operation aimed at stamping out this illegal trade.
There are the federalis.
OK, so the military truck set up a little roadblock.
We're just passing them now.
They've put a load of soldiers
the other side of the road in the scrub.
Curiosity gets the better of them,
so they decide to stop and watch the action.
It will be well worth waiting here to see what happens,
-if one comes screaming along.
-Yeah. God, yeah.
The army is setting up an ambush for car thieves
by blocking the road with rocks.
Soldiers are hiding in surrounding ditches, ready to pounce.
Well, if I didn't need a shit before, I do now.
With the trap set, the military hide the truck out of sight.
But 20 minutes later,
Marcus and Phill are beginning to feel uncomfortable.
They are waiting for a stolen car to come along.
I'll be honest, there was a bit of me hoping we'd see some carnage.
That's bad, isn't it? It's not a nice thing to wish for!
Did you wish for that as well?
I didn't wish for anything. I've just never...
You'd be curious, though, right?
I am, yeah.
You must be running scenarios in your head.
I've never seen any. It would just be awful.
Men appearing from that side would be shooting in this direction,
precisely where we are.
It dawns on them they could be in the line of fire,
and they decide to get out of there.
They still have almost 100 kilometres to travel
and desperately need to stock up on fuel.
Now, this could be... this could be the spot
where we get the jerry cans filled up.
But from our own vehicle, because you're not allowed
-to fill jerry cans...
-From the pumps?
-From the pumps, no.
It's illegal to fill up jerry cans at petrol stations,
as black market traders have been using them
to cash in on cheap petrol prices.
They've been told they'll have to carry spare fuel,
so their only option is to siphon fuel from the car
into the jerry cans, then refill the tank at the pumps.
It's pretty easy to do, yeah?
Well, it is - the only tricky thing is, you need to check,
if you pull the end out... No, you see, it's not wet.
A lot of the tanks have, like, a tube
and then it goes into a thing underneath.
So you can't get a hose in and this...
What do you mean, you can't get a hose in?
Well, it's not coming out wet, is it?
If it doesn't come out wet, I could sit here and suck on this,
but all I'll do is take in a load of petrol fumes
and it won't actually draw the...thing, and to be honest, mate,
with my tum as it is,
I don't really want to drink petrol as well.
I'm going to call Marcos.
No, that's bone dry. It's not...
Yeah, all right.
Phill discovers there is a solution,
and it means one of them is going have to man up.
-We can't do that, it's silly.
-It's all we can do.
A bit more. That's got enough clearance under it now, I think.
Are you in?
Yes, but wait till I give you the shout.
-OK, good. Hold on.
Jesus, mate, you're covered in petrol.
Yeah. How will I know when this thing's full?
Tap it on the side. You'll feel it. You OK?
Good job, man.
I mean, this is, by a country mile, the butchest thing I've ever done.
I think this one's full, Brig.
How much petrol are you wearing?
I don't know.
Let me see this side. Yeah, you're soaked here.
Well, now we have to get them up on the roof.
With the jerry cans on full view, Phill and Marcus
must now hope they're not mistaken for fuel smugglers.
Another petrol station, ha-ha!
They know nothing of our gringo-loading ways here.
Yeah. Although there are two police vans there.
They don't know us.
"What's that on your roof, there, fellas?" they might say.
"Nothing. That's nothing, sir."
The police are everywhere,
so the attendants decide it's best not to serve them.
Don't serve the gringos.
That's not great,
because we just stopped to get gas, having emptied our tank.
Have we emptied it? Is it empty?
We haven't got enough, because we're going
where there's no petrol stations. That's why we have done that.
-So, yeah, we're now on the hunt for another petrol station.
"No, we had a phone call about you. You're not welcome here."
Gasolina, por favor?
It's 37 pence a litre. Cheap, innit?
They've got their fuel, but they've lost so much time,
they now face the prospect of driving in the dark.
I think it's blocked down there. Let's go down along here.
The telegraph poles seem to be our clue as to where we're heading.
Keep them in sight, I think.
Uh-oh, I see dust rising.
-Is it more el criminali?
-They've got that look about them.
Are there plates on this?
No, that's nicked. No plates.
Oh, man, I wish I was back at that roadblock now.
Just tonking along.
All right, boys. How are you doing?
He waved back. Hey!
We got waved at by car criminals! Ha-ha!
Ah, the cheery wave. Oh, my Lord.
-Yeah, a lorryload of blokes with AK-47s await.
Hang on, that's a big bus full of people.
They manage to make up lost time,
but suddenly hit a traffic jam in the middle of nowhere.
To get through, they're going to have to make a detour.
-There's a protest.
-And there is blockade of some sort,
of, I don't know, lorries or something.
Road blockades have become a common form
of political protest in Bolivia.
Getting around this one means taking some interesting diversions.
So we seem to be going through a river
-and into a field of some sort.
Oh, it's a tyre someone's lit.
-Nice, that's what we need, smoke as well as dust.
-Can't see a thing.
We are driving blind.
We're trying to go by the lights of the car in front.
I keep thinking when you see other vehicles that we must be...
just watch yourself on the right here.
-Whoa! Fuck. Sorry, man.
-It's all right.
Eventually, they manage to get back onto the main road.
Oh, hello! Oh...ouch!
All right, so there's been a big, nasty-looking car crash here.
Oh, that's a mess.
Jesus. Are you OK?
-That was some stressful shit for this time of night.
With the traffic clearing,
they can now carry on to their hotel for the night.
Yeah, I'm in bed wearing thermals and a couple of layers, my pyjamas
and a hat and it's freezing cold.
So, yeah, salt lake tomorrow, hopefully.
Basically, we might get on the salt lake,
if it's not too flooded, on top of the salt.
So I'm really hoping we can get on, but it's dangerous.
If the car gets stuck, there's no way of getting help out there.
You have to deal with it yourself,
and that may well be beyond Phill and I.
The vast Uyuni salt lake covers 10,500 square kilometres
and is the largest of its kind in the world.
Formed over 12,000 years ago, it has a crust of salt
of up to ten metres in depth.
The boys are in an upbeat mood
and decide to dress up for the challenge,
Phill opting for the late Cuban revolutionary leader
Che Guevara, who was killed in Bolivia in 1967.
I think, without context, we might be upsetting some of the locals
when they see us in here.
"Ah, Che! I thought he was dead." "I thought he was thinner."
I was just reading that apparently,
I've inadvertently come dressed as Colonel Percy Fawcett, who came
out here to Bolivia in search of El Dorado and died in the attempt.
Their aim today is to reach
the town of Uyuni
on the opposite side of the lake.
But the area is so remote, they're going to have
to rely on unfamiliar technology to get them there.
Are we going the right way?
This is weird, cos the GPS is showing a very, very straight road.
We're not on it.
A) we're not on it, and B) it doesn't exist on the GPS.
-One thing's for certain.
We don't have enough fuel to take too many wrong turnings
and get all way across the lake.
And it ain't no place to run out of gas.
It's possible to drive on the flat surface of the lake,
but you have to know where you're going.
Even getting onto it can be tricky.
Oh, my God.
Just keep driving, Thelma.
It's estimated the lake contains 10 billion tonnes of salt.
Below the crust lie pools of brine
thought to contain over half the world's lithium reserves.
As the surface edge is flooded,
entering the lake is a dicey proposition.
I'm nervous about that, actually.
That's quite a way, isn't it?
That's a way in water, and there's now way of seeing how deep that gets.
Look at it, look at this! Look at the sodium chloride!
-I really want to taste some.
-I have, it's salty.
You just tasted?
This is unbelievable. It's so crunchy.
I'd come across, but I'm wearing suede shoes.
It's dreamlike, it's so weird.
For a kick-off, the brightness. It's the brightest place
on the planet I've ever been, and it's just...there's a beauty to it.
Over my shoulder there, there's a line of horizon
you can't quite make out. It's just absurd and beautiful
and wonderful and I can't wait to get on it.
-That's deeper than it looks.
-It's loose as well.
Right, OK, so that's how it's going to be for the wheels as well.
We're just going to need to take it very steady because also,
if you flick this water up into the engine and stuff,
not that I know what happens, but something bad happens.
I've seen some things in my life
but, my God, this is just... and the volcano.
How deep do you think that gets?
Well, we'll find out. We've got to go real slow,
but we've got to keep moving.
It's been an honour, sir.
Right, keep it under 10 miles an hour, we were told.
Yep, nice and steady.
How do you feel about just driving into a lake, Phill?
I feel very weird.
-Yeah, that's pretty deep, man.
-This is mad.
Oh, my God!
Careful, man. What are you doing?
Water ballet, my friend!
-Easy, don't spray it up into the engine.
-I won't, I won't.
What way are we headed?
We're going in exactly the right direction.
Yeah, so this line here.
You see the end of that headland there?
I'm going to keep pointing at that.
Very occasionally I get a surge of fear that it's going to crack,
and we're going to disappear into many metres of water beneath.
-A lake of brine.
It's kind of scary, I've got to say.
They say you can see the curvature of the earth
once you get out here to the middle. Isn't that crazy?
Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong could see this from the moon.
-Just keep a steady speed, yeah?
Oh, my God!
Phill, it's incredible.
I'm so glad I'm dressed like this.
Dude, you're going to have to try this when I drive. It's awesome.
-I'm 50 this year.
Also, it's quite a small window.
You'll be fine.
I don't know how it works.
I don't know how you zoom out
or find where you're supposed to be going.
That white arrow is where it wants us to go, yeah?
What's that glinting away over there? Is it another vehicle?
Where? Oh, yeah. Probably, yeah.
-Stolen. Making the run.
What if they're armed, and I'm wearing army gear?
I asked at the hotel last night.
Apparently, the way it works
is that cocaine gets taken to the Chilean border
and stolen cars get given as payment.
My strongest feeling now is that it's a car either on fire
or heavily smoking, driving away from us.
Right, OK. I think it's one of the Chileans.
-It looks like his amigos may have departed without him.
If you did get marooned out here,
what do you head for? Where do you go?
I would head straight for the volcano.
-Yeah. That's the only thing where I know there's folk.
The volcano's over there that we came from. That was two hours ago.
Is that it there?
That's the volcano.
Is that the island back there?
-I tell you what, it's cold.
-It is, isn't it?
As soon as that sun starts to drop.
I'm glad we got that extra insurance.
They must find their way off the lake soon.
As darkness falls, temperatures here plummet to an Arctic minus 20.
5.25, so actually, the sun's going to be going down
because we lose it so quickly at this altitude.
I wouldn't mind still being out here to see that,
except that the rest of it would be terrifying.
Can you see what our destination is on that?
I haven't got my glasses.
Do you know how to centralise this?
No, I don't. Sorry.
I see things on the edge of the lake over there, I see nothing...
I'm heading for where that vehicle is to see if that's anything.
Just ahead, they see someone
and it could be a chance to get some directions.
Wow! Look at this. Hola, senor.
It's beautiful. Hola, Marcus.
What are you doing here?
You sleep in here?
Is it cold at night?
Most of the salt mined from the lake
ends up on Bolivian dining tables, but it's also used for building.
These blocks are destined for a tourist hotel entirely made of salt.
Does the water make it easier to cut?
How much do they pay for a block of salt?
Yeah. You've got it going on!
You have a strong grip on your hands. Easy, tiger!
Muchas gracias, Julio. Thank you so much.
We need to get out of here before it gets dark.
You too, you need to light your fire. You're going to freeze, man.
With directions to a nearby exit route, the boys can safely
head off to the town of Uyuni, where they'll spend the night.
I'm going to need to learn Spanish for, "I have not slept.
"Show me mercy."
Uyuni dates back to 1889, when its railway links to Peru
and Argentina provided an export route
for the silver and tin mined here.
But before they can hit the road again,
Phill and Marcus take their lives in their hands
at the local car wash.
-Oh, right, here we go.
-Humdinger! Have you got to get us up on there?
Do you know what, Phill? I'm going to jump out.
Otherwise, I'm just going to plummet off the side. Wait, stop.
See you later. Good luck.
You'll be fine.
So glad that's not me.
This is horrible. Yep, I know.
Oh, God, this is worse than the death road!
Has anybody ever fallen off?
Yes? Someone fell off the side!
Just here? Oh, man!
So what are you doing here?
I think that might be coming through the bottom.
My feet are wet.
Now, we've have seen some cars from Chile come haring through
with quite dodgy-looking drivers.
Do the stolen cars from Chile ever come here to get cleaned up?
The car is now ready for the road,
but first, Phill needs to bring it safely back to earth.
This is horrible.
He's doing well. Oh, he's done that perfectly. Muchas gracias.
Oh, yeah, let's hug it out. Good man. Nice to meet you.
Man, that was worse than the death road.
Really? I'm not surprised.
They're not much wider than the tyres, those bloody runners.
At least the death road had a middle.
-You had so many options for falling off.
-It was horrible.
On the final leg of their journey,
they literally face an uphill struggle
as they head for Potosi's historic silver mine,
almost five kilometres above sea level.
-You make sure you drink enough today.
-I shall do.
I don't want to be your mother,
but this altitude ain't going to be kind to you, brother.
Shall I open you one?
Yes, please, Mum. How high are we, by the way?
-Have you got the old doodah there?
-Yes. I'll have a look.
-Flick it into action.
-I think we're at 3.7. That's my guess.
No, I think we might be at four plus.
OK, we're at 3.82.
I told you we'd done some climbing, because I'm feeling giddy.
My ears just popped.
Yep, I'm having to do a lot of swallowing.
-Is that stationary, that lorry?
-Yes, it is.
-Wow, how fucked up are you exactly?
-Should I know?
-I was just explaining to you. I feel woozy.
It's not only altitude
they have to worry about.
The mountain roads
are ancient llama trails,
no more than narrow tracks
with death-defying drops.
Whoa! OK, a little ravine there. Oh, God!
You all right there?
I'd quite forgotten.
It's been days since we've done the Road of Death.
And here we are, doing this!
Wow! This is some alarming bigness.
I'll tell you what, it's made me feel quite woozy.
It's already late afternoon and with no hotels in the area,
it's been arranged for them to stay at a llama farm.
But first, they need to find it.
We're quite lost and it's getting dark.
-Whoa! Keep it roadside, brother.
-So, how's our axle holding out?
-I don't know. It was a hefty bang.
Hello. Is that a little house? Is that a little...?
-Is this where we live? Wow. Lot of llamas.
A paddock full.
Hola. How are you doing, you all right?
Hey, how's it going, hola! Wow, are you twins?
The family has farmed here for generations,
breeding llamas for their meat and wool.
Tonight, they've made space for Phill and Marcus
in their outside food store.
Can I come in? It's OK? I'm a little nervous.
Ooh, we've got some traffic. How old are these little ones here?
For centuries, llamas were the only method of transport in this area.
Historically, thousands were used to carry salt from Uyuni
and silver from the mines of Potosi.
So you know all their names?
This one is beautiful.
The fur is so soft.
She's whacking his knackers, going "hombre"!
I like the ear tags.
I've got one. You've got one for me?
Yeah. I've pretty much been welcomed into the herd already.
Yeah, I'm going to be El Gordito.
As special guests,
they are being treated to Nicholasa's home-made llama stew.
This is delicious, thank you so much.
It's like a classic sort of British stew.
Did you get a bit of llama in there?
-I... Did you miss some?
Oh, God, this is fantastic!
How often do you have to go down to get supplies?
To round off the night, Raymundo gets out his charango.
-THEY CHEER AND APPLAUD
At over 4,000 metres above sea level,
dawn temperatures remain well below freezing.
Not the best sleep I've ever had.
This particular little hut has a lot of pieces of dead llama in it.
So it smells a bit sort of biltong-ish.
I don't know that we've helped with that.
It probably smells worse in here now than it did.
WHISTLING AND CALLING
Before leaving, Raymundo and his wife
perform the ancient rite
of burning a llama foetus,
meant to bring Phill and Marcus good luck
on the final leg of their journey.
That is a good start to the day.
Wow. That's a bold start.
You all right, brother?
Si, si, bueno.
That's a lack of sleep, really.
That really kicks in now.
-How are you holding up there, brother?
-I am in, er...
Quite a loopy state, but, er...
Let's do it.
So we're blessed.
How do you feel?
I feel that the blessing was very beautiful,
-and I'm very honoured they did it for us.
Having had that little sleep...
-I don't want to be ungracious...
-..about anything, but oh, my Lord, the smell.
The smell of burning...
I believe they were sweets and biscuits.
-And a little bit of booze...
-And a llama foetus.
A llama foetus just to top it all off.
-The cherry, if you will.
-I've got to tell you, the state I am in...
The idea of adding 1,000 metres of altitude is less than appealing.
Yeah, yeah. I'm a little mindful of that myself.
Their aim is to reach the Cerro Rico mountain
above the mining city of Potosi.
Silver was discovered here by the Incas,
but when the Spanish took over in the 1500s,
they plundered most of it.
In fact, it's estimated a third of the Spanish empire's wealth
originated from this one mountain.
But it came at a massive human cost,
as around eight million men died mining the silver.
I wonder who figured out
which out of all of these mountains was laden with silver.
Silver from Bolivia.
Well, what would happen is,
silver will show up downstream of rivers that run off a mountain.
-So the natives...
-..would have found silver in the river
thousands of years ago.
-Spanish have turned up, seen the locals all in bling...
-There you go.
-Literally dripping in it...
And off they go.
I think Potosi might be about to rear into view.
The city of Potosi lies at the base of a mountain
that was once rich with silver.
Its huge peaks stand almost 5,000 metres above sea level.
Oh, look at that, man, look at it.
Are we really going all the way up there? Mercy, Lord.
This is... Corporation Mineral De Bolivia.
In we go.
To get to the summit, they need to climb another half a kilometre
up its steep and crumbling shale tracks.
There is apparently not very much of it now that hasn't been mined.
-Underneath us now it's loose, it's honeycomb.
-Just tunnel after tunnel after tunnel after tunnel.
-You're telling me this now.
-Yes, so this could easily collapse.
-We got us a view!
This was once one of the richest cities on earth,
but now most of the silver has gone.
Today, there are still 15,000 men, women and children
working inside the mountain.
The conditions underground are so poor,
the miners have a life expectancy of only 40.
They get a thing called siliconosis,
-basically their lungs fill up with a concrete-like substance.
And I believe at the top, we will be, if not on,
-very close to five...
-..five kilometres above sea level,
-which given we have both been struggling around four...
-..is going to be interesting.
-Plenty of room my side.
I'm so twitchy. I'm so sorry.
It's all right, no, don't worry, mate, it's all right.
-I can feel my heart pounding away...
Just trying to get enough oxygen into my blood.
-Bit headrushy now.
Jesus Christ, man.
I'm not sure how much further I want to go up this baby!
-Got to finish it.
-We've got to finish it.
-We've come too far.
-Don't go so fast, babe.
-All right, mate.
-Look out, not down.
-I know... I am.
-It's a joy. It is a joy.
-Out, not down.
-Don't look at anything,
-you just concentrate on the road.
-I won't, only on the road.
-Thank you, sir.
-Only at the road.
I'm hugging this side.
Oh, that is not nice.
-We must be nearly there, I mean...
-We have to be.
This, sir, has been an honour and a privilege.
An extraordinary thing to have done.
This is the end.
This is it. We've done it!
Get out real slow.
It's been absolutely amazing.
I mean, I... You know, I was excited,
and I did a bit of research about Bolivia,
and I thought, "Ooh, good, you know, salt flat,
"and dangerous road and up mountains and
"lots to see and all the rest of it."
And it has totally and utterly
blown all of my expectations out of the water.
And everywhere we've been has just been...
mind-boggling, and defies, um...
defies my vocabulary, anyway.
I loved every minute of it, I really did.
Certainly one of the most extraordinary experiences
of my life...easily.
-What do you reckon?
-Oh, my God!
I have had a whale of a time with Brigstocke, and, er...
I'd do it again in a second, I really would.
We did it!
Wow, that made me dizzy!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Funny men Phill Jupitus and Marcus Brigstocke head to Bolivia for a high-altitude road trip that promises adrenalin, hilarity and drop-dead beautiful scenery.
Already good friends, the terrified duo first have to survive Bolivia's infamous Road of Death only to find themselves deep in notorious bandit country. Disorientation takes them by surprise as they have to navigate the stunning Salar de Uyuni, a salt lake so vast that Buzz Aldrin could see it from space.
Their goal is to reach the ancient mountain city of Potosi whose silver once financed the great Spanish empire but at almost 5000 meters above sea level this proves to be a heart stopping finale.