Llama, llama, llama

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South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz
October 8th 2010
Published: October 15th 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

Day 33-35-8th-10th October

Well after our late night/early morning we just spent the next day chilling out. My watch had stopped working that night and we’d really had no idea how late it was until we left the nightclub and it was daylight! Whoops. Wasted day then, however we’d had a good night.

The next two days were taken up with more shopping and planning our next move. La Paz is so cheap and the goods are so beautiful that it is almost impossible to resist! I could have quite happily bought a lot more, but the fact we have to carry it around for nearly another 3 weeks put me off a bit. However we did end up buying 2 small holdalls made of alpaca. Couldn’t help it, they’re great! So we are now carrying, 2 big rucksacks, 1 small rucksack, 1 daybag, 2 alpaca holdalls and a bow and arrow. Seriously we’re starting to look a bit comical.

We also finally made it to the famous Witches’ Market of La Paz. It consists of 2 streets behind the Plaza San Fransisco and as well as selling the normal hats, gloves, blankets etc, it also has a variety of weird items supposedly for witchcraft. The most famous and strangest of these items is dried llama foetuses. Apparently when you are building a house you are meant to bury one of them underneath your house for good luck. The rich kill a llama for this, but the poor can get away with it by buying a dried out one! They were pretty creepy and the stall owners kept trying to get us to buy one! Seriously imagine trying to get on a plane with that!!! However it was very interesting and we ended up buying a little stone turtle. Not sure of his witchy properties but he’s very cute!

We then decided our next move. It was definitely about time we used another wedding present and this was one of the ones I was really looking forward to. The Salar de Uyuni. The biggest and most famous salt flats in the world. All buses between La Paz and Uyuni travel overnight so we decided to book onto a bus for the Sunday night and go straight onto a 3 day tour of the Salt Flats and surrounding areas on the Monday morning. We noticed that our hostel in La Paz could organise all this for us, so we wandered down to the reception area, 30 mins later we were booked onto a Todo Tourismo bus at 9pm the next night and then a 3 day tour of Salar de Uyuni leaving on the Monday! All companies that do the salt flats have good and bad reviews, it totally seems to be the luck of the draw, so we crossed our fingers and hoped everything would be ok.

The next morning we packed up (again!) as we had to check out of the hostel by 12pm. However our bus wasn’t until 9pm so we had some hours to kill! The Point hostel let us store our backpacks and we walked around La Paz a bit, watched some films in the hostel’s TV room and then finally had some dinner before heading off to the bus station. One thing we have noticed about food in La Paz, they like to put salt on it! However they are much better at vegetarian food than anywhere we’ve seen so it’s not too bad. Ellory had a toasted vegetarian sandwich and I had a bowl of Andean potatoes with herbs and cheese. Odd looking potatoes as they are black, but still very tasty! That done, we loaded up and headed off to the bus station.

There was a little bit of a panic at the bus station as there was no booth for Todo Tourismo! Fortunately, Ellory was awake and had noticed a sign for Todo Tourismo while we were in the cab heading to the bus station and we went for a walk to find it. It’s very hidden and I was very relieved Ellory had noticed it! There is no way we would have found it otherwise. However, panic over, we checked in at Todo Tourismo and sat down with our stuff until the bus arrived. This bus was the most expensive and comfortable we could find (still only 24 pounds for a 12 hour bus ride), the seats were only semi cama, but you did get dinner and breakfast and a pillow and blanket. A bizarre combination of semi cama and cama suite, but hey. As we were going straight onto the tour off the bus we wanted to try and get a decent sleep.

Well for the first 5-6 hours it seems that might happen. We had dinner and then covered ourselves with blankets and went off to sleep. However... when we started driving over the desert at about 2am, we were rudely awakened. The roads are rough and bumpy, and in a coach, well you can imagine, I could feel my brain vibrating inside my skull! It was pretty damn uncomfortable and although I somehow managed to go back to sleep for a bit, it was a hard journey and we really didn’t sleep well at all!!!

Love Liz xxx

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