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Published: September 3rd 2007
A few days before we left, Sarena asked what we were going to do in Bolivia and my answer was ‘freeze our asses off and get altitude sickness’. I was being sarcastic, but I really didn’t have an answer to that question. I had no clue what we were going to do, or even why we were going to Bolivia. Some people, like Jeff, had said amazing things, but he lived there for 6 months; we only had 10 days. Others had only negativity for us. What were we going to do in Bolivia?
The fact is, we did a lot in Bolivia, and it ended up being one of the best short trips of my life. I am actually amazed at how great of a time we had. It’s funny, but we met at least 50 people and never even exchanged e-mail addresses. Just like these 2 British girls sitting next to me on the plane (they have been traveling through Central and South America and Bolivia has been their favorite spot!) It was just nice that our lives touched for that brief time and that’s all it needed to be. For the first time while traveling I was
so busy and entertained that I forgot my anal ways. I didn’t keep track of expenses or write down the name of every hotel, restaurant, or site. I didn’t even keep a journal. It’s been very easy to just get caught up in the experience.
So an update on what’s been going on…
First of all, we did get back to La Paz, but not without some pain and discomfort. The bus ride was not as easy as it was on the way down to Uyuni. It was crowded, it was hot and then it was freezing and then hot again. It seems that 60% of the people on it were sick and coughing and sneezing and snoring the whole way. We stopped every half hour for no reason that I could figure out. I couldn’t get comfortable; I couldn’t sleep. Then at 2:00am I thought for sure we were getting jacked. The bus at stopped and I heard arguing outside, then they came on and told us all to get off the bus. We were in the middle of nowhere. This is it! But then they just put us on another bus and the people from that
bus onto ours…who knows why things happen the way the do in this country?
We got back to La Paz around 7:00am and of course our room wasn’t available until 11:00am…hurry up and wait!
The worst part of that night is that Billy started getting sick. At first we thought it was just lack of sleep. We had been on the go non-stop for days. Jumping from one vehicle and one climate to another. It was really no wonder that one of us would be sick. So we took it easy that night and booked a car the next day to take us to Copacabana.
The next day Billy still wasn’t doing so hot, but he powered through and we were on the road to Copa. This is a small town on the shore of Lake Titicaca. It’s one of those places that really have to be seen to be appreciated. You follow this winding road (almost like Highway 1 from Big Sur to Santa Barbara) where all these kids are out playing. Little kids just playing on the road, legs hanging off the cliffs…no supervision. I was blown away by that almost as much as the gorgeous
view of Lake Titicaca. I don’t know exactly how big this lake is, but it makes Tahoe look like a swimming pool.
Copacabana is built between two small mountains and the lake. It’s centered around a huge church. We didn’t do much here but walk around and have one of the best (ok, only) trout steaks I have ever had. Fresh trout from Ticicaca. I’m not a big fish eater, but it was cooked perfect and had a really good, ‘non-fishy’ flavor. If we had the time, I would have liked to spend a night or two here.
When we got back Billy’s health had not improved. He took some meds and was out for the night. I wandered off by myself and after dinner and some drinks, I realized how grateful I am that Billy decided to come with me on this trip. Bolivia is just not set up for the solo tourist, not like Asia was. We were staying in the Rosario area, which is the closest thing to a backpack ghetto La Paz has, but it’s just not the same as Bangkok or Hanoi, so I called it a night. I had to get up at
The beach in Copacabana
6:30 the next morning for a mountain bike ride anyway (that will be a separate blog).
Sunday night when I got back from the ride, I got Billy to get up and eat some soup. He hadn’t been eating since being sick. At this point his throat was swelled up but his fever seemed to be gone. We went to the hotel restaurant (known as one of the best in town) and that’s when I realized how comfortable I had become here in such a short time. Within the first 10 minutes I ran into 7 people I knew…the French couple from the bike ride, the Brits from the pizzeria, the American couple from Uyuni…and then the waiter who after asking “Kevin, how are you tonight?” proceeded to seat us in front of people who were waiting and had reservations. Billy decided to start calling me the Godfather of La Paz, even though I couldn’t in good conscience call him Geologist Billy since we found literature that proved his copper theory wrong. I still believe in his octagon formation theory about the salt flats though (probably because I have absolutely no idea what he was talking about when he
Old Woman in Copacabana
I like this pic for some reason
explained it…something about Oxygon+H20+Salt=2-xyzlmnop=octagon or something like that…he’s kinda smart).
So now we are on our way home. The plane just took off from Santa Cruz and we are being told we are going to route over Haiti or something to avoid Hurricane Francis in Colombia that’s heading toward Miami…or something like that.
Thanks for following along with our trip. Wish Billy good health. Thanks Danny for the camera that took all these pictures. Happy Birthday Danielle! And I’ll talk to you all soon!
I will send the Death Road blog once I get home. Need Mom to know I’m safe and sound before I tell that story ;-)
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