12th of Jan, 2014. 

A massive 6 hours sleep later in my comfortable hotel, I head in for 9am. 

The press team will discuss with us the plan for the day.  It's a lot of indecision because no one really knows the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma’s schedule.  We are told he well greet the riders at 1pm about an hour away so this give me a few hours to catch up on editing, emails, blog etc that I have not had time for over the last few days. 

11am comes and other photographers and I meet to get ready to go out and get Evo with the riders but, there is a delay, so we wait. 

12pm comes and the delay is no closer to being explained. 

By 1pm, all the agency photographers decide that even if we would go out we would miss his entrance in Uyuni as he will have a helicopter, we have cars.  I have a quick lunch at the military base which includes Lama Soup, Lama dried meat on pasta and washed down with a fresh Coca leaf tea, when in Rome!  

Full of energy, I grab my kit and walk into town where the people who sell Bolivian flags must be making a small fortune as everyone has one and is not afraid to fly it! 

One thing I have not mentioned as it only happened a few times, but today it became more common was getting my photo taken with locals.  About 7 times so far, locals have come and asked to get a photo with me, not sure why, my height, red beard or maybe they think I am a rider, I know it’s not my looks, but it’s a weird request which I am happy to do. 

Back to work, my guess is that this city does not get visits from any international events like the Dakar and El Presidente, Evo Morales Ayma so everyone lines the street in anticipation of the occasion. 

After getting some proud Bolivian fans and their colourful show, the bikes start to roll into town to the podium where an MC will do a short interview with each rider after their stage is complete.  A band also plays a tune for each rider and the more popular ones also get fireworks as they ride up the ramp to the podium. 

There must be 100+ Bolivian press in attendance recording the event on everything from the recent  cameras to point and shoots to vintage cameras and even older mobile phones all documenting everything that moves.  It a bit of mayhem but they are polite enough for things to keep moving.  The helicopter arrives behind the shops and the crowd favourite, Evo shows up, chaos ensues and most are scraping for position to get a photo, video clip or sound bite!

I take a position where not many people are now, near the media stand, knowing that all politicians will always make their way their eventually.  He greats everyone and by chance as there are a lot of riders from different nationas, a Bolivian rider makes his way onto the podium , Evo Morales Ayma leaves his very secure President's area and embraces him, lifts his hand triumphantly and walks over to where I am waiting in prime position, job done. 

He sits back down and meets other VIPs then heads off.  I go inside to wire some images before his official press conference, which then happens on time for a change. 

One of my colleagues translates his speech and he comes as a humble and honest man. 

I wire again. 

There is a hustle outside the media room where Evo meets some of the riders and he poses for photos.  As he is leaving, we end up close to each other, so the novelty of getting a photo with a Bolivian president is too much, so I tell Victor from AP to get a snap of us together!  So no riders in action today but lots of colour and pretty images and one picture of me a Evo Morales Ayma to show my mum!

If you have any questions about today or any of the previous days you have read, please feel free to ask away on @AllSportSnapper on twitter.

View Dean's coverage of the Dakar Rally 2014 on Getty Images

  • UYUNI, BOLIVIA - JANUARY 12: Fans show their support during Day 8 of the 2014 Dakar Rally on January 12, 2014 in Uyuni, Bolivia. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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  • UYUNI, BOLIVIA - JANUARY 12: (#2) Marc Coma of Spain for the KTM Red Bull Rally Factory Team makes his way off the podium during Day 8 of the 2014 Dakar Rally on January 12, 2014 in Uyuni, Bolivia. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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  • UYUNI, BOLIVIA - JANUARY 12: Bolivian President, Evo Morales Ayma (C) raises the hand of (#40) Juan Carlos Salvatierra of Bolivia for Speedbrain Rally Team on the podium during Day 8 of the 2014 Dakar Rally on January 12, 2014 in Uyuni, Bolivia. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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  • UYUNI, BOLIVIA - JANUARY 12: (#1) Cyril Despres of France for the Yamaha Factory Racing team plans tomorrows route during Day 8 of the 2014 Dakar Rally on January 12, 2014 in Uyuni, Bolivia. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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  • Dean Mouhtaropoulos is a Sports Photographer for Getty Images. Follow him on Twitter at @AllSportSnapper
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Editors Note: The 2014 Dakar Rally will be the 35th running of the event and the sixth successive year that the event is held in South America. The event starts in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina on January 5 and finishes in Valparaíso, Chile on January 18 after thirteen stages of competition. To find out more visit the official Dakar Rally 2014 website.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos is a Sports Photographer for Getty Images. Follow him on Twitter at @AllSportSnapper

 
About Deal Mouhtaropoulos

Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Mouhtaropoulos' love for photography began when his godfather bought him a camera for his 12th birthday.

"My journey to become a photographer had started and led me to the Big Smoke as I always knew London would provide a good platform to start my career in the photography business.
Working full time in various non-photo related roles and shooting for magazines and newspapers on weekends, it was then that I discovered Getty Images. When visiting the Getty Gallery, which was in Chelsea at the time, and looking at all those amazing pictures I had an epiphany and knew this was the company I wanted to work for.

I started hounding Getty’s Human Resources department to give me a role, any role, in the company. A few months and hundreds of phone calls later a role came up doing coffees, spreadsheets and filing.
Thanks to my boss, who saw some potential in me, I became a Field Editor for Getty which is like the modern version of working in the Dark Room. I got to work with the best photographers around the world at events like the MTV Awards, Cannes Film Festival, both Football and Rugby World Cups, the Olympics, Champions League football, World Championships in Swimming, Diving, Hockey, Athletics and so on.

This has taught me more than I could ever imagine and after 7 years of absorbing information and applying it to my own photography, I earned the opportunity to become a staff photographer for Getty.
10 years in London came to an end at the start of 2012 and I am now based in the Netherlands covering sports and news in the Benelux, France and Germany. My knowledge of photography has progressed but my passion is as strong as it was when I picked up my first roll of Fuji film as a 12 year old."

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