Josie Ends in Bolivia
Trip Start Nov 13, 2010
91Trip End Jul 20, 2011
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Getting to Coroico involved taking a taxi to a little suburb and then catching a collectivio from there. Collectivios are mini vans that have a destination posted in the windshield and they park and wait for all seats to fill before departing.
We got to Coroico with high expectations – we had been told it was beautiful and charming – the perfect place for a still sick and getting sicker, Josie, to finish off her month. Just chill. We had been warned that there were lots of little bugs in the area – after all it is at the edge of the Amazon delta – the mouth of the jungle. But…..OMG! As the van stopped in a few places to let people off the first thing we noticed was the humidity and then the bug bites/welts on all the bare skin we could see. Not just bites – massive welts on the bikers and hikers who were hanging around waiting for transportation out. We just looked at each other. Creepy creepy.
It was late Easter Sunday – the town square was littered with garbage and bottles, young drunks staggering amongst the indigenous mamas who were looking as disgusted as we were. And we were pulling up our socks and pulling down our sleeves in an attempt not to get bitten by the ‘no see ems” We certainly couldn’t see the bugs but everywhere the evidence was clear. Faces, arms, ankles, hands – big mess of bites and welts. But the drunkenness….Weird thing about Central and South America…I have seen very little drinking…anywhere. You hardly even see the consumption of even beer and if the young kids do, they make it clear that only losers drink to get drunk. So different than home. Even teenagers rarely consume alcohol beverages – and they are cheap so that is not it……so to see a drunken, dirty town, with little charm…..we were disappointed. Even the weather was shitty – the clouds were hanging low and heavy – threatening to unload. Only the temperature was good – hot, junglely hot, and humid. A nice relief from dry La Paz and a lovely change from the cold of Cuzco.
We went to bed, slathered in DEET, vowing to leave in the morning. Even the best Mexican food wasn’t enough to stay in this buggy town.
The hike– a beautiful trek through coca fields being harvested by complete families, (including the tiny little members) took a couple of hours to get to the waterfall and then a few more hours back through three sad, very poor towns.
We had seen parasaillers flying through the canyon. I have always wanted to fly/parachute and for some reason it made sense to do it here…….Jos agreed. Por Que No? So we headed into town to sign up – booked a time for the next day at 9:30. Tandem flying through the massive canyon, landing near the river if all went well, if not……not sure what Plan B might be.. Next morning the weather was worse than poor – it was raining. No 9:30 flying for us. Around noon the pilot showed up at our hotel and picked us up – he thought all that cloud cover was …nice…… With huge reservations, we drove to the top of the mountain, where we were to jump off with our little single sail……..and waited. And waited.
In hindsight it was one of those….what were we thinking??? Flying for the first time, tandem or not, in a small Bolivian mountain town at the top of the World’s Most Dangerous Road – miles from the nearest low grade hospital if Plan C or D had come about……duhhhh!!!!
We checked out of our hotel…..oh yeah forgot to tell you about the giant – yes giant, spider in our room the night before……huge – salad plate huge. I like spiders, Josie not. She freaked right out and got one of the hotel guys to come with a broom to whack it dead – I thought she was kidding about the freak out but found out she actually REALLY hates spiders and this one was a skinny tarantula sized one……and that was just the beginning of her night from hell….
When we came back from the hike she had the chicken buffet – I didn’t. Fast forward after the spider episode, middle of the night – full blown food poisoning……combine with cold/flu and altitude sickness…..ahhhhhh……..Josie hates Bolivia.
Then the collectivio to return to La Paz.