Boney Soup and a Lost Key.

Trip Start Apr 23, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cochabamba was our base point for getting to Toro Toro in order to see dinosaur footprints. After a horrific experience at the bus station in La Paz, me with a twisted ankle after face planting and no one helping us find the bus that was due to leave in five minutes, we were relived to have made it in one piece. Getting off the bus, we asked a taxi driver to take us to the cheapest hostel in the lonely planet (standard for us)... no answer there. Next cheapest: still no answer. We ended up driving around Cochabamba in the middle of the night for at least an hour and a half before we finally had to settle for a three star number, over budget to our great frustration. The only saving grace was that the Lion King was on our private TV... a first for me while traveling.

The next day we went out in search of a cheap meal to make up for the splurge the night before, again we walked around for almost an hour before we came across a local dining hal,l where there were menus available for nine Bolivs (90p). Out of place in the overcrowded hall, being started at by locals we got stuck into course one... again a salty soup. As we drank the liquid it was slowly revealed what was lurking beneath: a lovely fatty, bony brisket thing. Determined to get our moneys worth we ate around it, then ready for our next course we were met by the flattest piece of beef I'd ever seen, fried in some sort of crumby batter with salad and... you've guessed it: rice! Still, hotel over budget... had to make our money back. (When I say the hotel was over budget it was still only four pounds, but when you're used to paying two, it's a big difference).

After our Rico lunch we went for a walk into town where our bad luck seemed to follow us, or me... falling over two times in the street. Understandably, we bought a bottle of one thirty rum and walked back to the hostel with bloody knees to catch our bus to Toro Toro, getting in the taxi I also managed to smack my head off the door: classic.

Returning from Toro Toro a few days later, flagging down a taxi to take us to the cheapest hostel he knew... apparently we were cheap even for Bolivians: seventy Bolivs wasnīt exactly budget accommodation to us. Queue another hour of driving around looking for hostels before we had to settle glumly for the same hotel we had stayed in before. Feeling like we were cursed, especially after Toro Toro we were ecstatic when the taxi driver charged as an insanely cheap amount... we both literally hugged and kissed him.

The next day we just chilled out, went for a walk etc... upon returning to the hotel that evening we found that we had lost the key. Seriously, how much bad luck can two people have?! Convincing hotel reception that we had left our key in the room, we brainstormed on how we could get out of paying for a replacement key... it just wasnīt in the budget! Katie was totally freaking out so I tried to convince her it'd be fine and after I told her my master plan she felt a bit better and was able to enjoy a movie on our TV...

The next morning we were due to check out: master plan was a go. Katie took both our bags down to the luggage room and waited round the corner outside for me, having told reception I'd be down soon with the key... I waited until the coast was clear and bolted so fast out the door you probably couldnīt have seen me. Part one was a success but we'd have to wait until later to see if we got away with it.

We set off to find the market - Cochabamba boasting the largest market in South America, stretching for over fifteen blocks. We grabbed breakfast (eggs of course) with the locals in the food hall and set off to explore. At first we were very confused: the market was tiny! Then, just after we'd complained every street we turned down was more market. We walked around from 9:30am until 2:00pm before we even found the artisan market to buy presents...

After we finally made it out of the market we had a quick stop to see the Christ statue before getting our bus to Sucre. Cochabamba also has the biggest Christ statue in the world, which we found hard to believe seeing as we had yet to lay eyes on it. The Christ in Rio is an impressive 33m, a meter for each year of Christ's life, but the one in Cochabamba is 33.44m, on the basis that Christ lived to thirty three and a bit years. Fun fact of the day, no?

Then it was time to go back to the hotel: time to put master plan part two into practice. Being really sneaky we tip-toed into the lobby, luckily the baggage room was open and we slipped inside un-noticed. Scrambling around in the dark, getting all our stuff together we cracked the door the tiniest way open... Coast clear. BOLT.

We ran to a dusty lane a few streets away from the hotel to pack our bags, not allowing ourselves to celebrate before we were in a taxi on the way to the bus station... 

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