Empresa Ferroviaria Andina S.A. Try Hard, Falling Short!

by Mick Huerta
(Sopocachi, La Paz, Bolivia)

Worst Train Experience in a lifetime of train travel! Oruro to the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Having ridden trains in Russia, Mongolia, China and many countries in Latin America, I´d say the worst ever is the Bolivian line, Empresa Ferroviaria Andina, Oruro to Villazon. Why? All throughout the journey electric fans mounted at either end of the car would spritz air freshener and blow it onto the heads of the passengers. And when ever anyone went to the toilette and marred the floor, the attendant would spray cleaner. A Euro couple with child asked that the fans be turned off. "No," came the answer indignantly. "Cleanliness is policy." Others made complaint to no avail. Some put a handkerchief to their noses. Many of us looked at each other in disbelief. While the few Bolivian passengers took it silently in stride.

So much for a ticket in executive class. If ever to travel to the Salar de Uyuni again I´ll take the bus, it´s cheaper and they, thankfully, do not spray chemicals. Most disappointing is the response from staff. On this train, the customer is never right... or so it seems when you acknowledge that actions do speak louder than words.

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