Trip Start Nov 07, 2004
21Trip End May 2005
Anyway I couldn't go to South America during the carnival season and not go to one myself. With the Rio carnival not being an option backt then because of my location the Oruru carnival in Bolivia sounded a better (and cheaper) option. I'd been planning the last few weeks around it but with the uncertainty over the clousure of the La Paz to Corroico road and my jungle trip was left hanging on a bit so wasn't sure weather to book ahead or not
Headed off late Friday afternoon. The bus ride took about 3 hours. When we arrived at the bus station on the outskirts of town the place looked dead. Thankfully as we walked into town we could start to hear the music from the procession. Before too long we reached the underside of the makeshift grandstands holding the spectators which also doubled up as walkway. Started to walk underneath hoping to reach the main square where Ăndre was due to meet some friends of his but with water bombs being dropped on us (he didn't help matters by cursing everytime he got hit) we decided to give it a miss and headed back to the main road. We managed to hail a taxi to take us to the main square when we drove past Martin from Holland along with some Dutch girls
Dinner was strange affair at typical Bolivian restaurant where the portions were absolutely huge. Ordered myself a breaded chicken fillet and ended up with a piece so huge I had turn the rectangular plate sideways so has not to take up the space of the person sitting next to me. Andre thought he had ordered some chops but ended up with almost an entire leg. As per usual he was complaining about everything from the service to just about everything else so I was pleased when one of the Dutch girls backed me up and told him to bugger off back to Brazil if things were so much better there. He shut up after that (well for or a while).
With our stomachs lined (to bursting point) headed off to the procession and some serious drinking. We soon got caught up in crowd traffic so escaped through a gap in the grandstand. From the other side we could breathe and listen to the carnival while hunting down some of the drinks vendors. Everywhere people were selling plastic bottles of Cuba Libre and Coke. Wasn't so sure myself if it hadn't been mixed with even cheaper alternatives but wasn't going to argue about it at those prices. Could see the effects already of those who'd had a few too many with paraletic Bolivians just p****** in the street infront of us (nice!) and some incoherent bloke coming up to us to try and speak but barely able to get a word out he was so far gone
As we were all busy watching and passing drinks around the Andre looked down only to realise that his money belt had been slashed open and everything taken from it. He went spare of course as the fool had only taken just about every important debit/credit cards and his travel documents (including his tourist Visa extension with him). Sympathy for him was a bit in short supply a) for being stupid enough to bring everything in the first place and b) for all his moaning and winging so we decided to stay put and watch the carnival & let him sort out his own mess. At this point he told me not to get too drunk as he would need my money to get back to La Paz - my response soon as he was gone was to buy myself a big bottle of Cuba Libre. Martin had also had got pickpockted but only some cash was taken
Finaly Andre came back. He'd had no joy finding the police station and had got water bombed a few times just to rub salt into the wounds. Looked pretty annoyed at us that none of us had bothered to come with him and me for being rat arsed
The next thing I remembered was waking up in the bus on the way back to La Paz in the morning. The sun had come up with Andre fast asleep. Still felt drunk. Arrived back in La Paz still in party mood. Looked like there'd been a pretty good party in La Paz too. Left Andre to sort his situation out and headed for bed. As usual had forgotten to buy water as the tap water isn't drinkable. Knew I'd be in for a good hangover when it came and boy was I right.