Bolivian Independence Day! Fiesta!

Trip Start Jun 19, 2010
Trip End Aug 29, 2010

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Flag of Bolivia  , La Paz,
Friday, August 6, 2010

After our unpleasant experience at the Ecuador/Peru border, we decided to do it right and take a tourist bus to Bolivia. Tour Peru runs a great bus that will help you sort out the border crossing. Fortunately, it was far easier than the first crossing anyway. Unlike the Ec/Peru border, the immigrations for both countries were within walking distance of the border (revolutionary idea, huh).

The bus waited while we got stamped out of Peru and ponied up $135 for a Bolivian visa, thanks to a reciprocal charging policy they have. Apparently we charge Bolivians the same to enter the USA. Thanks Uncle Sam! Despite the cost, everything went smoothly and we hopped back on the bus for the short jaunt into Copacabana.

Copacabana loves to party. Fortunately for us, we arrived on August 6th, Bolivian Independence day! In addition to the expected festivities of an independence day, new to us, was the blessing and decoration of the cars and trucks (and buses). Families arrived in their respective automobiles, parked on the beach, and proceeded to cover the windows and doors with flags, banners, confetti, and miniature houses, buildings and other objects (meant to represent their hopes for the coming year i.e. having a mini dentistry building on your car indicated your hope for becoming a dentist in the near future).  The cars were blessed by a priest and the event commenced with a lot of drinking and the ceremonial breaking of cider bottle and spraying its contents over the entire car.

We waded through the crowds and found a hostel in the center to unload our packs at. We headed back to the beach front in search of lunch. The specialty here was fried (giant) lake trout farmed and caught in Lake Titicaca. For 20 bolivianos (aka BOBs, where 7 BOBs = 1 USD), we got a platter of trout (head included), rice and salad. Delicious.

We only stayed one full day in Copacabana and and the following morning caught a bus to Bolivia´s administrative capital, La Paz.
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