Adventures through South America...

September 25, 2009

Into the Jungle I go..

Ok, so I just wrote a post and deleted it. silly me.

Apparently Bolivia doesn´t like my photos, so I´m afraid this blog is going to be more text then anything. Somehow I´ll try to keep it interesting. I´m moving on again tomorrow to my next destination, Villa Tunari. Why, you ask? Well, I´ll tell you:

I have a death wish. Ha ha no it will be good for me. Maybe do some soul searching, like I was supposed to when I was in France almost 6 years ago (yes, it´s been that long) and ended up only finding wine and cheese...

Anyway, I´m going to spend at least two weeks (possibly a month) getting peed and pooped on and trying to make nice with the jungle cats. I wonder if I´m allergic to them too...hmmm.

The nearest village has a dodgy internet connection, so I´ll try to post while I can.

Yours truly,
the unscarred, unbitten, clean,

September 23, 2009

Lost in La Paz

So Niamh and I had arrived in La Paz last Monday. She had already warned me about the amazing ability to get stuck in La Paz, especially staying at the Wild Rover hostel (our intended destination). Naturally, I just laughed it off, and said ¨Not me!¨

Well, it´s been 9 days, and I´m still here. I woke up in a frenzy this morning and ran to book a bus ticket out of here...

La Paz is truly one of the craziest cities I´ve ever seen. The centre is full of cars honking and exhausting fumes that take over your already extended lungs. There are few stop lights, and when there are they aren´t obeyed. There are people EVERYWHERE, trying to sell you EVERYTHING. Anything you could ever think of needing, from pens, to deoderant, to toilet paper, to any item of clothing can be found in the streets of La Paz.

While here, I have checked out the Witches Market, where we may or may not have purchased a colon cleansing potion after about 4 days straight of drinking. I have also attempted to find the black market, which I am still not sure I found. It´s so possible to just get lost in the street vendors. I also have purchased some new glasses (as mine were stolen) for the price of 160 BS ($25) including my eye test. I have checked out a few odd museums including one on the Apollo missions, found some nice neighbourhoods and restaurants and eaten and drank almost everything on my hostel´s menu!

And...I spent 7 days drinking. And I mean DRINKING. The hostel that I am staying at is full of Irish, English and Aussies who love to drink. I got into quite the routine of starting around 5pm, drinking at the hostel bar until 2am then going to one, maybe two clubs until 6am and then sleeping until 3pm and starting all over again. I didn´t leave the hostel for days. But as all good things must come to an end, I lost my voice and smartened up! :)

I´ve been sober for two days now. Yay me! haha It´s funny how easy it is to get sucked into the powers of entertainment. I´m off to Cochabamba next, where the weather is supposed to be nicer and the city a little calmer...phew!!

Still no photos, but I will try to remedy that this weekend!

Let me in to Bolivia

Ok, so it´s been a while. I got lost in the frenzy that is La Paz. Here´s what I´ve been up to...

We left Cusco on the 11th and were headed for Copacabana, but not before we spent the day in Pisac, which is a little market town outside of Cusco.

My friend Niamh and I were brave enough to sample some fresh hot chocolate in a nice cafe...made with milk...which was likely unpasteurized. Fast forward to our 12 hour bus journey...

We spent our first bus ride from Cusco to Puno in absolute pain just trying to fall asleep to escape...then we spent the hours of 4:30 am to 7 am in the bus terminal in Puno taking turns paying 50 centimos (about 15 cents) using the facilities. We boarded our next bus to Copacabana on time and feeling a miniscule amount better.

It was on this bus that I experienced my first border crossing. Our driver was really good in explaining how it was to work. We stopped in the town just before the boarder to change money to Bolivianos, because to our surprise there were no banks or ATM´s in Copacabana. After changing the minimal Soles we had to Bolivianos and fretting over not being quite sure if we´d have enough money to make it out of Copacabana, we arrived at the border. We then proceeded to walk ourselves from the Peruvian office to get our goodbye stamp (you are granted a tourist card when you arrive that you must have stamped when you leave), over to the Bolivian side to get our new tourist card. For most English speaking countries, we are granted only 30 days (as opposed to the usual 90) in Bolivia, so I had to ask for special permission (in spanish) to stay 90 days. Trust me, not a pleasant experience after being sick on a bus for 12 hours and tired as hell...but alas, the grumpy border official let me have it. And that, is what crossing borders in South America is like. You actually just walk yourselves over!

Anyway, we got to Copacababa with no problems, and managed to sleep a lot our first day there. On Sunday we woke up early and took off on a trek to Yampaputa (the end of the peninsula) in order to get a boat to Isla del Sol. Our trek took us almost 6 hours and was such a beautiful and peaceful walk. Nevermind the hills at an altitude of over 3000 metres above sea level. I felt like my health was deteriorating, having to stop every 12 steps to catch my breath.

We walked through a number of small villages along Lake Titicaca, until we almost got to the end. We found a gentleman by the name of Horario Paye (as suggested in the Lonely Planet) and asked him to take us out on his reed boat. After our relaxing reed boat ride, we definitely did not want to finish the last hour of our trek so we paid Horario´s much younger (really he was probably 65) to ROW us to Isla del Sol. It was a 2 hour boat ride, during which we pulled our own weight and took to the oars!

We finished the night with a great meal of fresh trout from Lake Titicaca. The next day Niamh and I headed back to Copacabana due to a lack of funds! We had to haggle our way on to the boat just to get back to mainland, then managed to get half price tickets on a bus to La Paz.

I´m not having any luck posting photos today, but will try to get them up as soon as possible!