Emillio the Naughty Teenager.

Trip Start Apr 23, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Bolivia  , Potosí,
Thursday, July 12, 2012

Continued bad luck: our taxi driver dropped us off in the wrong place to catch our bus to Toro Toro; we had been  relying on him to drop us off in the obselete corner it left from. We trailed around for ages asking unhelpful locals until eventually we found it, only to be told there wasn't one until the morning. With returning to the only hostel out of the question we were totally defeated, then it seemed our luck had changed when a guy told us there was space available on a bus just about to leave! Space isn't really the right description: we were handd stools to sit on in the aisle of the bus, for a journey that would last six hours!

As the bus continued more and more people got on, making it physically impossible to move, after a short time we decided to crack the 1.30 bottle of rum we had bought for such an occassion. In better spirits after a few necks of the rum (straight because mixer would put us over budget), we thought it was hilarios when my wobbly stool legs started to give way: me desperately truing to cling to something for support I ended up poking a poor guy in the eyes... all the while I kept trying to convince Katie that the Bolivian guy next to me, notoriously known as 'Puff Daddy' was feeling me up. It was all very stange, sat on a dark cramped bus, something or someone touching my bum, facing an errie jurrasic park sign while driving on the worst roads known to man - 'greatly improved' by lonely planet standards. Towards the end of the journey, forgivinng 'Puff Daddy' for his molestation, we started talking to him, asking us why we were going to Toro Toro me and Katie desperately tried to think of the Spanish for dinosaurs. In the end we couldn't so resorted to pretending to be velocoraptors only to be met with hoards of laughter from most of the bus: this was a hannahsaurusrex moment.

When we got off the bus Katie manage dto find us a room for, what we thought at the time, was 20 Bolivianos as I ran around frantically looking for somewhere to empty my bladder. In high spirits after the bus journey turned out to be more fun than expected we got to our room - probably less comfortable that a prison cell but it did. We quickly finished the miniscule amount of rum at oen of our 'sleepovers' while watching a movie on my ipod, before going to sleep.

The next morning we were woken and told that there was another group going to see the dinosaur fotprints (it's cheaper if you go with more people), surprised that we were so lucky we handed over twenty Bolivs each for the tour and agreed to have breakfast at another hotel the woman owned for ten each. Having finished breakfast I felt a bit strange and all of a sudden had to run to the bathroom to chunder... after that we sat around the hotel for ages waiting for the other group to show up, getting a bit stressed afetr some time had went by we asekd the woman to be told that we had to meet them in the Plaza... didn't think that was an important piece of information?

We arrived to find the group had left and the twenty Bolivs we had paid the woman meant nothing, something was a bit fishy there... After buying proper tickets we waited to form another group, meeting an Israeli guy that tld us the dinosaur footprints were a waste of time - just non-descript holes. Gutted doesn't cover it: we had been excited for this since Copacabana. We ended up forming a group with a lovely Bolivian couple and set off on the trek. Israeli guy was wrong! The footprints were so cool, and Katie's Spanish was good enough to tarnslate what the guide was saying. After seeing huge diplodocus footprints and going all soft for the baby raptor prints, we continued our trek through a dried river bed seeing amazing rock formations and more footprins as we went until we came to a view point looking out over a massive canyon. More trekking after that, honestly everytime I finish one I swear it won't happen again yet I always find myself cursing ever thinking it'd be a good idea. We hiked through the reserve back to the town seeing mountains that had been formed my a meteor impact: they were the strangest mountains I'd ever seen, looking like they'd been sliced in half.

Starving after the trek, we walked around Toro Toro for around an hour before we found a shop that sold any sort of food. I don't think I mentioned this before but me and Katie lived off eggs - the cheapest possible way to eat and I must say, Katie made good eggs. We bought six eggs (having noticed a kitche in the 'hostel'), some tomato, chilli and onion to cook a bitchin' omlette back at the 'hostel'. I say 'hostel' because it wasn't exactly that: it was two beds in a bare concrete room, no hot water and we got locked in at night time... fire saftey, you betcha!

When we got back to the hostel we found it locked, our key not fitting the external door... another half hour wandering around town looking for the woman who came to be known al 'El Cunto' only to be told that we weren't allowed to use the kitchen. Tomato and onion sanwiches for dinner then?

Unable to look at the eggs without being on the verge of tears we had a nap and, as per usual we slept in... Wakng up at seven we were panicked that we might not be able to buy a ticket out of town for the next night, after bolting to the bus 'street' we were able to get some seats, yes seats, on the bus leaving the next night. Back in the cell we braved a cold shower, solely on the basis that if one of us did it the other had to so that we would both experience the pain.

The next day we wanted to go caving, the woman told us that there was a big group going again, clued up this time we headed to the Plaza... the empty Plaza. We ended up having to go ourselves, with the same guide from the day before: Emillio. He loved his diamonte and Spanish dnce tunes, he couldn't have been older than seventeen. Before we reached the caves Katie leaned over to me and said:

"Do you know who he is? I had my suspicions yesterday but he has the same cap on now: that's the guy you poked in the eyes..."

It bloody was too.

The caving was amazing: we clambered through the heart of a mountain formed by a meteorite to a pool full of fish. At one point we had to army crawl sideways through an incredibly tight passageway, at other points had to absail down slippery vertical slopes or edge along wooden planks that acted as a bridge over the huge drop into the dakness below us. We saw stalagtites and stalagmites, heard bats squeaking in the darkness and saw transparent fish with no eyes in the pool deep within the mountain.

We got to the point where our driver was supposed to pick us up to be met by nothing... we waited half an hour before walking for a while. Having paid extra to get a car so that we would be on time for the bus Katie and I were getting pretty pissed off: Katie because we paid; me because we were doing more bloody walking. A while later we asked if the driver was normally late, removing his earphone Emillio just shrugged and we kept on going.  After another while we asked if he could call the driver... apparently his phone only worked in Cochabamba. Eventually the driver did show up, Katie and I fuming in the back, we tried to work out how to say we wanted a discount in Spanish. Of course we chicken out and were all thanks and smiles when we got out the car.

This time we searched for a cheap restaurant to eat at and managed to find a menu - soup, followed by beef, potatoes and... rice! Then having some spare time we went to a museum... actually just an old man's house filled with fossils, rocks and plants he'd been collecting for twenty five years. Doesn't sound too amazing but it was! Everything was beautifully arranged and everytime you looked there was something else there.

When we went to collect our bags from the hostel it was locked... an hour until our bus left we waitined around, taking it in turns to stoat about town looking for El Cunto. Getting really worried with half an hour to go we started sizing up ossible ways of breaking in. Ten minutes lafter El Cunto casually strolled up.

Running inside to get our bags, we were half way out the door (having already paid) when El Cunto stopped us wanting more money. Now claiming the room was 40 a night, instead of the agreed 20, and explaining that because we had milk with breakfast it was 20 each... not mentioned at the time of course and with the 20 we had let slide for the 'tour' we were livid! We absolutely point blanc refused to pay: our room was a cell! After arguing for as long as possible, we chicked out once again andhanded over the money for fear of being stuck in the tiny town for another night.

So we got to the bus just in time, taking our seats I discovered I was lucky enough to have got the only broken seat on board: it slid and fell on the floor with every bump in the road... remember we hada six hour journey on the worst roads ever made.

Thank god I had Katie: we were able to find the funny side in our misfortune... I had paid twenty Bolivs for a breakfast I threw up; we had paid the same to stay in a prison cell as it cost us to stay in a three start hotel; and we had paid more fore seats that were more uncomfortable that the broken stools... Just our luck!

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