Escape from Wild Rover

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Apr 03, 2011

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Wednesday, December 29, 2010

After the 6 days in Wild Rover, our old selves needed break, and fortunately we had to pre-book another hostel as there wasn't enough spaces in the Rover.

we shaped up and shipped out and went to the Adventure Brew Too about 10 minutes up the road and it was a bit of a shock. The second hostel was a massive dump with a dowdy court yard and dark rooms. We had moved from a 8 person dorm to a 16, with my bed right by the main road with single glazing draughty patio doors.

We wen't to the Adventure Brew 1 hostel, which was about a minute up the road to go to the bar. We arranged with the guys still in the Wild Rover to meet us in the Adventure Brew bar later that day. When we returned for 8 there was nobody there, so we hung around until 9:30 and gave up and went to bed (other people had hangovers and I wasn't going to wait on my own).

I was woken up at 1am by a room full of people staring at me and a security guard pointing out peoples beds - at first I thought it was one of those interventions, where everyone was going to say "Andy, we really understand, but you have to stop snoring!", but the words I actually heard were in a welsh accent saying "come on Andy, get out of bed - were going back to the Wild Rover". turns out the guy's turned up and we just got tthe time wrong. Ended up being another cracking night in the Wild Rover and then onto the Blue House.

The next day I was woken in the morning to people protesting in the street and setting off fireworks and the such like. People were arriving in the hostel saying that the whole city was blocked off and that the Army were running public transportation. I heard various stories of travellers arriving in the city, some with Stones being thrown at their window, some having to walk 2 hours with their backpacks. Seemed like tense times. In the area we were at the protesters were marching, buying popcorn and setting off small explosions - all in all a happy mob. We went back to the bar in the Adventure Brew 1 (a rooftop bar) where we took pictures of the march. we were told that we shouldn't leave the hostel without a security guard by the owner, but there was no violence really out there. The real violence was outside the city where they were setting fire to toll booths and cars.

New Years Eve - and what a difference!!!!! I went out to buy some much needed new clothes, and everybody was out shopping - no violence, no protests - just consumers. After about 4 hours of walking around I managed to buy the much needed T-shirts, boxers, socks and towel that were missing from my life and also managed to pick up a watch, haircut and Double Whopper with Cheese. The thing that struck me the most was the amount of stalls on the street selling yellow and red underwear, every street I walked down had at least 3 of these stalls. I found out later that it was a tradition in BBolivia. later, I found that it's traditional in Brazil for people to wear white (for peace) and then a colour - each one depicting a different wish - red for passion, yellow for money etc. I really liked the idea.

Later on that night we went out to a steak house for dinner, then Oliver's Travels for a few (very strong) drinks. We returned to the hostel to celebrate the new years at the party they were throwing there. it was held at the garden at the back of the hostel, which were on 2 very high levels. The beer bar was on the lower garden and the spirits bar at the top. I went upstairs a few times. Come the new year countdown we were all on the top level watching the fireworks across the city (oh yea - did i mention we could see all of La paz from there). The view was spectacular as we were counting down to midnight. There was a bonfire behind us which was keeping us warm as we cheered, hugged and congratulated eachother on seeing the birth of a new year in another country. The fireworks continued in their sporadic beautiful fashion until it fell into the background of conversation and we returned to the downstairs garden. It was a really good night and a great feeling to celebrate on the other side of the world. I only wish I took my camera.

New Years day was spent chilling, popping out into town again and seeing my friends who were leaving La Paz via either choice or deportation for getting caught on the tour going into San Pedro Prison.

Today (21/2011) we ate in the Dutch restaurant Sol & Luna and then went to the Coca museum. It was really interesting separating the natural and spiritual use of the coca leaf from the westernised creation of cocaine, finding out that it was a banker - not a medical expert that got the drug banned as it suppressed the mind of its users, however corporations in the UK, USA (Coca-cola) etc are still legally allowed to buy the drug. It showed the effect that it had on society and the proven benefits that it has with altitude sickness and insulin deficiency. I think my favourite fact (apart from coca-cola are still allowed to legally buy these plants) was that the catholic church banned the coca leave from the miners in Potosi for having demonic properties, however quickly rebuked the ban after finding out that it had a huge effect on the production rate of the miners.

This is out last night in La Paz now, and we still haven't figured out where we are going next. i suppose we need to get our act together!! 
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