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Published: February 23rd 2012
Not sure which is the older of the two - Amber or the pontoon!!
Jo was woken to the sound of fireworks being set off at 7 in the morning and after wondering whether this was a military coup due to the obvious guns being fired decided there was no need to panic so both of us got up and had an early breakfast.
Did very little until the bags were loaded on the truck and we set off at around 10.00 am for La Paz. Around 11.00 am, we arrived at a river crossng where vehicles were ferried across on very old pontoons and passengers were taken across for the equivalent of 15p on extremely delapidated boats.
Before going across we had lunch at roadside stalls near the crosing point ......... filled pastry with meat and vegetables called an 'empanada' - very similar to a cornish pastie.
Dave left with Amber on the pontoon and we made our way to the boat. All boarded this fairly small boat and then our leader found out there were only 10 lifevests. Much argument followed between Frenchie and the boatman who at one stage tried to pull away from shore with us but was prevented by Frenchie grabbing the rope. We all disembarked as
Driving into La Paz
A very large, sprawling city with 2.5m inhabitants!
the boatman apparently refused to take us due to the fuss. There then ensued a thirty minute delay whilst extra life jackets were brought resulting from the intervention of local army personnel and we eventually got across on an even more dilapidated boat but all with a life vest even though the crossing was short and on calm waters. The life jackets would probably not have saved many lives in any event as most were filled with those little foam beads put into bean bag seats!!
The truck followed the shoreline of the lake and then inland to La Paz which neither of us expected to be so large and sprawling and hugging the side of several hills. Carnival was still continuing and there was much singing and dancing and firecrackers in the streets. This was an opportunity for most of our group to buy fancy dress costumes in the shop opposite the hotel before a farewell group meal with those ending their trip here in La Paz.
The party continued into the early hours but we went off to bed by 11ish. Jo is still coughing and spluttering and succeeding on passing on her cold to Ed. I don't know if it's the high altitutde or what but Jo's cough and cold is taking a really long time to improve. Emergency amoxycillin in the baggage if necessary but hopefully not!!
Ed reckons he will be signed of for at least the next four weeks by the local Dr Gonzales !
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