Published: July 31st 2012July 31st 2012
Hola from Bolivia! First impressions of Bolivia, garnered from the border crossing experience, were positive. From the immigration officer who joked with me about my gender when i messed up the form (instead of looking at me with disdain as every other immigration officer does) to the yellow church right on the borderline, packed with people seemingly singing ´The Sounds of Silence´by Simon and Garfunkel. I have no idea why. But I liked it.
Another hour and we were at the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca, in copacabana. Not only was barry manilow nowhere to be seen, but it also was not north of havana, nor hot. Particularly at night. It is in fact very very cold Stupid altitude.
Copacabana seems to be taken advantage of its high altitude ( 3841 m) to get a little bit closer to God judging by all the crazy religious festivities that seemed to be going on! Famous for our lady of copacabana (i´m guessing its Mary), this strange creepy dark room at the back of the church where people drew pictures of cars and houses on the wall in wax, and for a twice daily (three times on the weekend) ritual which
sees priests blessing peoples cars, it´s quite the place to be, and half of peru seemed to be over for the festival.
The car thing was particualrly cool... cars covered in paper flowers and little shiny hats (you would´ve loved in Claire!) were queued round the block, owners sleeping in them, waiting for blessing time. The priests comes to each, gives it a little blessing, maybe they have a little commemorative photos, and then they cover the car in booze, chuck confetti all over - inside and out (engine included) and then let off a load of firecrackers in ront of it. Bam.
And it didn´t stop there - we climbed (always bloody climbing) some hill to where Our lady hangs out, only to find that that is where the party really happen. Countless stall selling teeny tiny models of thisg to bless - not just toy cars, but little toy cases of money, little shops, even a computer! Seems you buy these, then climb up to Our Lady and get them blessed for good fortune in the future. Then, from what we could gather (well, the part we joined in with anyway) you go and sit on
the end of the ledge, overlooking Lake Titicaca, and have a beer.
It wasa good day.
Followed unfortunately by a shite evening, where we both got majorly stressed ot failing to find cheap accomodation in la Paz, and I was generally feeling tired, pre-menstrual, over travelling, and sick of eating bloody potatoes and rice every bloody day.
Got over it though.... till next time!