The long and winding road to Bolivia

Trip Start Aug 15, 2006
Trip End May 27, 2008

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I arrived early at the bus station toi be told the Bolivians were still striking and I still couldn't get to Copacabana. Not wanting to spend another momrnt in Puno I had to change my ticket and cross the border elsewhere and go to la Paz, which was a much longer journey. I didn't have time to buy extra snacks but luckily an Austrian guy (Andy, Andreas) came to the rescue and gave me a couple of packs of biscuits. We also got chatting to an Aussie guy (Gus, Augustus). Crossing the border was a joke! If you ever commit a crime, head to Bolivia and you will never be found. We had to fill out visa forms but they just put them on a pile, stamped your passport and off you went. they didn't look at the photos, read the details or read the info on the visa form so i could have left it blank or written my name as Osa Bin Laden and they wouldn't have noticed!

When we arrived in La Paz the bus company wouldn't let us jump off in town and said we had to wait until the bus station but suprise suprsie they just wanted us to stay on so their friend could try and sell us an overpriced room. We packed 5 of us in a taxi and headed off to a hostel (El Solario). We found a cafe that wasn't too cheap compared to peru as it was touristy but again I had some good lemon merange and I took some carrot cake away for my tea! I had an e-mail from Vicky (from the Inca trail) that she was heading to La Paz as she couldn't get to Copacabana so I gave her my hostel details so we could try and catch up. I then had some really shocking news that my best friend from 4 years old wants me to be godmother to her new daughter (although I'm not much use from here) so that called for celebration and we headed off to a pub with some others from the hostel.

Today me and Andy went out for breakfast and found a local place that offered some kind of complete breakfast for about 50p which turned out to be fried egg, fried beef, frankfurter, fantastic toasted bread and coffee. I'm not as huge fan of fried breaakfast but I was starving. We then went to some chain coffee house for proper coffee which was pretty pricey and the cake was crap. Nice bathrooms though.. We wandered around and saw some cool looking policemen with robocop outfits and guns so I have some pics but will upload some other time. Went to the Coca museum-found out that some exercise trials found that Coca is a good regulator of insulin and blood glucose levels (although not sure how reliable this info is!) and that Coca Cola still uses Coca leaves for flavour. Coca Cola used to be some kind of wine with coca in as a stimulant but when prohibition came in the U.S. they changed it and made Coca Cola which has been popular ever since. I saw 2 girls from my Inca trail group there too which was weird as La Paz is huge.

Went back to the hostel and Vicky had just arrived which was a good coincidence. She was with a south african guy (Andrew) and we hooked up with Andy and Gus and headed off up to the lookout point for a great sunset view of the city and mountains. Me, Vicky and Andrew headed off out for food and ended up at the worst place ever. All I wanted was a cheese and ham sarnie which is impossible to screw up you'd think....What I got was soggy bread and crispy ham and rock hard cheese that smelt really off as it seemed to have been put in the microwave, not toasted, just heaed up! Luckily it was cheap as i didn't eat it and they tried to charge Andrew for a litre of beer when the bottle was only 600ml! We headed off to the ice cream parlour for cake and ice cream.....

Tomorrow I have the downhill death ride on the world's most dangerous road on a mountain bike. It's a TREK with disc brakes though so I'll be fine I'm sure. The following day I have a flight in a tiny 15 person airplane to Rurrenbaque where I then do a 3 day boat tour up a river and we get to see monkeys, pirahnas and swim with pink dolphins so sounds cool although I'm dreading the flight big time. Goes over the mountains though so apparently an awsome view so I'll have to try and keep my eyes open. At least Vicky is coming with me so she can keep me calm!
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