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Published: March 8th 2008
Got into La Paz after a scheduled 12 hour bus ride turned into 40 hours. We got caught up in several road blocks, mainly created by angry miners who insisted on chucking rocks at the bus windows. It was a bit eighties England, almost felt like a scab. Luckily the driver was seemingly in the know about various backstreets so he was able to take some evasive action. Strikes in general seem part of Bolivian life; nothing ever seems to be resolved in a calm manner.
I Got into the bus station and took a taxi down to my hostel. The taxi driver promptly tried to rip me off even though we had agreed a price beforehand. Taxi drivers in South America tend to be a bit shit really. As a rule of thumb they know where nothing is apart from the odd major landmark. I asked the driver if he knew where the hostel was and he replied yes. It turned out he didn’t and in the end had to ring them up for directions. He thought it was reasonable to charge me double the asking price because he had to use his mobile phone. In the end I
just placed the original asking price in his hand and got out. He started moaning that I was a rich gringo tourist and bla bla…………….. un bloody believable.
La Paz is the highest capital city in the world and the lungs have to work that little bit harder than usual. I found it was more the pollution that was more annoying me than the altitude. The funny thing with La Paz is that it is formed like a basin. At night it almost feels like you are in a huge stadium as most of the houses, apartment’s etc climb up the hills outside the city centre. Other than this La Paz was really just another city and it is difficult to say much more really.
From La Paz I got a bus up to a place called Copacabana which is on the southern shore of Lake Titicaca and pretty much on the border with Peru. This is where you get the ferry to isle de sol. This little island in the middle of the lake is famous for been the birthplace of the Inca Sun god. Not to sure if that’s exactly right but it’s something to do
with sun and god and I am in the land of Incas so why not? To get to the island you basically just go up to any number of people who might own a boat and barter them down as prices start out quite ridiculous. Luckily we managed to find a man who was delivering bread to the island so he was more than wiling to accept a few more Bolivars to drop us off. He was even more delighted when we offered him a few more Bolivar’s for him to stop the boat and let us jump in the lake. He was just a little puzzled as to why anyone would want to jump in this really rather cold lake. Apparently Lake T is the highest navigable lake in the world at 3811 metres above sea level. Up on closer inspection though it is only the world’s 33rd highest lake, a rather disappointing number. I feel that I now jumped into an artic abyss for nothing. Maybe this is why the boat bloke was laughing his head off.
After our little dip in the water we arrived in Isle de sol and were promptly accosted by a gang
of kids who wanted to take us to surprisingly the best hostel on the island. This involved an energy sapping climb up a seemingly endless number of steps. We arrived at our hostel which provided an awesome panoramic view of the southern end of the island. The owner of the hostel was clearly a few waves short of an ocean because upon taking us to our room she said we weren’t allowed to use the toilet or the shower which did actually worked. She wanted three times more money than we were actually paying for the room for use of the toilets and shower, told her to nick off. It may be a tad dishonest but we used all the facilities anyway. I refuse to bow in the face of such blatant exploitation, which it was. The Bolivian sense of entrepreneurship is in a word weird. They don’t just try and charge a little bit extra they go for the jugular. Its fun to barter them down though because the starting rate just makes me giggle and gasp in shock. Another funny peculiar of her hostel was that prices of various items would fluctuate massively; this was partially explained by
the fact that she may or may not have had some form of dementia as she often forgot to put some or all of the items we ordered on the tab. She had many other shortcomings as a hostel hostess but the day is too short to explain them all. I also have some irritating TOFF next to me who insists on talking like a fog horn it really is disturbing my keyboard rhythm, some of things people insist on shouting out loud.
Upon leaving Lake Titicaca and Bolivia I got a bus to Cusco. Upon on arriving in Cusco I found out I didn’t have very much money left which was quite upsetting really. I now can’t afford to fly from Lima to Quito which is a bit of a bugger even more so when you take into account the general publics dissatisfaction with the government and there insistence on blocking roads and chucking rocks at buses. I don’t really want to spend anytime in Ecuador as I want to save it for another day so I have to time my buses just right. This can be quite hard when the public’s dissatisfactions rears its ugly head in
the form of airborne rock assaults. I shall make it in some form or shape, oh yes.
Bye from me
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