Trip Start Oct 16, 2010
58Trip End Aug 01, 2011
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Cochabamba day 1
The bus station in La Paz is small but efficient. We were able to easily purchase $6 seats on the 10am El Dorado bus.
The Death Bus:
To our dismay the bus stopped on the outskirts of La Paz for 30 min before getting on our way.
The taxi driver pleasantly ripped us off for 15 Bolivianos when our ride should have been less than 7 Bolivianos but we just wanted to get to our hostel, Hostal Maya (A so so thumbs up in a city that doesn’t have much of a variety of traveler options). The check-in process was hard as the reception girl spoke very fast and was not willing to help us. However we did get a fabulously large room with lots of windows for fresh air. From the hotel it was very easy to get a taxi to El Prado where there are beautiful plazas abound. As we walked the main strip we saw restaurant Suiza and were excited for fondue but it was just a name with no Swiss food – only Boliviano (this turns out to be a common theme in Cochabamba – Don’t read a restaurant by its name). ¡Que lastima! So we headed to a not-so-Asian restaurant, Tunari, for typical Bolivian food before heading back to get a good night sleep.
Cochabamba day 2
A simple breakfast was included in the Hostal Maya $22 price so Bee got the breakfast in bed for sick Raymie. Unfortunately, we keep getting sick from the sick people traveling on the buses. After a light meal we took a walk to a tourist center by the Plaza de Armas we had seen the night before for a much needed a map of the city. The staff at the tourist center was very helpful, even providing a personal phone number in case we wanted some Spanish lessons.
As usual we got our 5 miles in by walking along El Prado and then to the Jesus Cristo de La Concordia on top of the nearby hill
Cochabamba day 3
Today after breakfast we walked in the drizzling rain to the famous Cancha markets. The markets were well set up in groups offering the same items. Everyone even had their own space instead of in La Paz where one store was so on-top of another you didn't know where one stopped and the other began. It is a one stop place for anything from flowers, to shoes, ceramic cats to car parts. Raymie had worn his Inti Raymie soccer jersey (bought in Copacabana) and people kept chanting "San Jose
After naptime and blogging we walked around a new part of town towards the Cine Center. We crossed the river to Boulevard Recoleta which is supposed to be the "trendy, happening place" for young people but it was dead with only a couple people in the restaurants after 8pm.
Lai Lai restaurant caught our eye for Chinese food. The restaurant provided quick service and amazing food. The boulevard (Recoleta) definitely had many bars that looked like something might happen, or is supposed to happen later so we decided to cross the neon lighted skywalk to have coffee at the Havanna Cafe inside the Cine Center. At the cafe before seeing The Green Hornet, we watched Htv (like MTV) with the new Calle 13 video (A great group to lookout for). It was time to go dancing and given that the boulevard had nothing that looked attractive we walked down to a place advertising techno. However, when we got there not only was there no one there at midnight but there was also a high cover to get in. We walked and because all the other places looked horrible we just got in a taxi for the hostel
Cochabamba day 4
Even though we didn't have a late night we stayed in bed late cause we could! We walked three miles to Laguna Arenal expecting more than garbage and men peeing next to the mirky lagoon. Unfortunately what is what it turned out to be. I'm not sure what we were expecting exactly because that's Bolivia - nonetheless it's something to see I guess.
Disgusted with not finding a beautiful nature-ful lagoon to enjoy, we comforted ourselves with empanadas and Pisco at the Buenos Aires Resto-Pub. This is a really nice and peaceful shade-covered spot on La Prada but there were lots of kids looking for food. It's so sad that there are so many kids that seem hungry and homeless. We gave one kid part of our empanadas and another kid olives and cheese.
Later on we headed to the local Mexican restaurant, Chipotle, for some half decent tacos and a huge plate of crazy nachos. See picture below. It wasn't your average Chipotle chain bit they had Tecate in a can which made us happy for Mexico.
This must have been our night because everything came up Raymie and Bee
Cochabamba day 5
We missed breakfast (Raymie's favorite part of the day to miss) but we made out for lunch at Colonial Jardin on El Prado. It was a set menu lunch but the appetizer and the soup were already so much that we took home the main course of Picante Mixto (5lbs of spicy meat, rice and potatoes) and gave our to-go flan to a homeless woman. It was a recovery day of blogging, napping and movies. How do these people take so much food for lunch???
Cochabamba day 6 - Valentines Day
The bus terminal in Cochabamba is very different than the other Bolivian cities
The next obvious stop - the Na Cúnna Irish pub next door for pizza and green beer. How can they have green Paceña beer on the menu and we not order it? Raymie being mischievous wanted to teach the Boliviano bartenders how to make/drink Irish Car Bombs (Bombas de Carros Irlandes). Naturally, the staff was bombing away with us. We had such a good time but it was too dangerous to stay there so we grabbed a taxi to take us to a club to go dancing. The taxi driver, Raul, took us to two different clubs but Raymie couldn't get in wearing shorts (we had yet to stop back to change before the nighttime festivities) so we asked for a ride to the hostel to change into some appropriate clothes and we were off
Cochabamba day 7
What happened last night? We woke up to 2 half bottles of vodka from the clubs and a broken glass. Craving a burger we went to Burger King and it was so expensive but necessary at the same time. Raymie found his true calling as "El Rey de Loco". (see picture) it was time to check-out of the hostel but we decided to pay them to stay in our room until it was the time for the bus to leave at 9pm. We just relaxed, regrouped and took a trip for supplies at our favorite neighborhood convenience store since we drank all the liquids in room before heading to the bus terminal. Our 9:30pm bus was late but that was to be expected. At 10pm we were finally off to Santa Cruz.