Mountains Monsoons and Mooning

Trip Start Dec 29, 2009
Trip End Dec 24, 2010

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Thursday, February 18, 2010

Okay people. i have reached 18 entries and 2 months of epic tales of drunken crazy times and memorable tales of misdemenors, cultural clashes and vodka prancing

Its finally time

... for a joint entry!

I went to write this episode (haha) and read an email Emmie wrote to her fam re La Paz. it is so funny i cannot begin to pretend i can top the hilariousness as it describes our time so perfectly. Its a massive exaggeration to call it a joint entry but it has been adjusted/tweaked and pulled like a chicken ...a comic feast! Therefore, i bring you a special treat of a tale from Bolivia, blatchford/ bucko style. Some are mine, some (more) are hers. Strap yourselves in children...

Hidy ho favourite people!
gee whiz golly gosh do we have a lot to update you all on! ( we don´t care if none of you ever write back to us. we will keep on stalking you.)
So!  greetings from Bolivia! Got to La Paz a couple of nights ago after finishing up a CRAZZZZY time at Rio and we have hit the ground running.

Few things to know about Bolivia...
1. It is cold.
2. There are llamas, donkeys, goats, dogs, you name it, EVERYWHERE
3. We were really excited to see the first llama
4. not so excited when saw the thousandth llama
5. Women here dress in traditional colonial dress (extremely colourful and lots of layers because did we mention it is COLD?) and to top off their outfits they wear... bowler hats. not a joke. Like 1930s bowlers
hats. ALL OF THEM DO. weeeiiiirrrrd.
6. Our hostel has amazing doonas because it is cold.
7. It is so cheap! hooray! 1 AUD = 6 Bolivianos.  Our hostel costs us 6AUD a night and it's one of the best we have stayed in.
8. Highest city in the world in the world so first day you walk around feeling dizzy and in our case, a we bit giggly. It's tres cool in a juvenile way. Permanent headspin! weee! fyi they say that planes almost have to ascend to land at la paz airport. cool huh? luckily no altitude sickness for nicole or em, yaaaayyyy for adjusting to dizziness well.

Activities thus far have included..

Where they sell cocoa leaves (yes, the stuff they make cocaine out of.  Meant to help with altitude sickness but really all you do is chew them and then they make your mouth go numb.  I mean, I heard that this happens. Nikki and I have not indulged in this silly tourist shenanigan. Cough.) They also sell llama foetuses.  Just as gross as they sound. You`re meant to bury one under your house or shop or
whatever for good luck and fortune.  Thinking of sending one to you all? Thoughts?

Okay, they are not an activity.  But was so much fun to see them again! They came and stayed at our hostel with us and we have spent the last couple of days hanging out, drinking, getting dinner, going
on various tours etc... awesome.  It was sadly the last time it looks like our paths will cross so it was a sad time saying goodbye to them yesterday. boooooo hiss. farewell friends we heart you. stay in touch. remember dirty bus ride of rap songs and associated actions. you know they were brilliant. ahem.

Boys arrived from carnavale epic adventure and we booked straight in for recommended, highly publicised, must do in la paz night of fun and frivolity at a WWF style chikolitas wrestling match, yes it is exactly as it sounds. Bolivian women in traditional dress wrestling WWF style (without Fox8 style chairs, metal poles and girls in bikinis waving numbers for each round... we are in bolivia people not LA. CULTURE remember!) At first hilariously entertaining for 3 minutes however numerous problems with this event...
1. No alcohol allowed. travesity. sobriety is not pretty 2 months into travelling. Nor after 3pm. Not that we cant last an afternoon without booze, But five hours of fake crap wrestling in an icy cold gym with no alcohol = angry locals/ wrestling regulars (us)
2. They dont actually wrestle. they fake wrestle/ slap/ pull on pigtails 
3. there is a pre show. characters such as ´Sexy Viper, ´Ninja man´and ´San Pedro prison sex bomb´make appearances. Bitch slapping commences by pretending to slap opponents face and hitting wall to make sound. Oh the talent. See video.
4. Ticket gives free popcorn, souvenir and fizzy drink. most exciting thing about whole evening. popcorn makes everyone happy. Especially when popped correctly
5. The girls wear leopard print underwear. eek.
6. With evening brings chill. post brazillian travellers non est happy chikas in mittens. Must mention new mittens have llamas on them, ideal mittens. will frame when home

Ok. so this is what happens if you travel, however briefly, with a bunch of boys.
Poster on wall in hostel:
DEATH ROAD! Come mountain bike down the most dangerous road in the
world! 3 tourists dead in the last 5 years! Countless graves to view! ALL DAY EXTREME SPORTING ADVENTURE OF DEATH!!! Book now!
Boys: that looks awesome.
Em: I have a bike in Sydney.  It has a bell on it with a picture.
(Nikki =silent and white)
Boys: Let's all do it tomorrow!
and they bound off happily to reception while we are left to gaze dumfounded at each other in the courtyard. This goes to show how shocked we are because the courtyard is COLD. (as is bolivia. did we mention this?)
Nikki: I haven`t ridden a bike since I was 12.
Em: I hope they give you helmets.
And so we booked in to do the extreme mountain biking adventure known as Death Road, purely because of how many lives it has taken.  It is a looooong windy, bumpy and extremely VERTICAL dirt yes DIRT road that takes AAAAALL day to get down.  As in they collect you from hostel at 8am and return you at 8.30pm. Oh, and it's lined with crosses and flowers from all the people who have careered off the cliff and died there. awesome.
So back to the tour.
They give you a full body suit thing, a helmet (ems had a ´MY NAME IS
EMILY BUT YOU CAN CALL ME RUG MUNCHER` sticker on the front. Nikki's said, NIKK. I LOVE LUCAS BUT DONT TELL HIM as they thought Nikk was a boys name and therefore gay joke by association. lachie`s = LACHIE IS A GAYLORD and so on.) hahaha. hilarious tour guides. Obviously death road no longer gives them that same adrenaline rush anymore so they pick on teh tourists. tsk tsk.  erm also kneepads and elbow guards, and a bicycle. Then it's off you go! Enjoy the ride and try not to die!
Well.  First thing we noticed when we started off was that we were ABOVE A CLOUD.  Yes. we were HIGHER THAN THE CLOUDS.  Which is handy because if either of us catapulted to our death, it would be an extremely short bus ride to heaven. and the ride doesn`t finish till THE BOTTOM OF THE CLIFF.
Sooo, not great at maths but here`s a picture. We are strapped to bikes.  We are above the clouds. We must get below the clouds, nay, to the very bottom of the mountain.  We have bikes in
which to help us achieve this. Mountain bikes. Handy because we were riding DOWN A MOUNTAIN.
So off shoot the boys, head of the pack.  stupid sporty thrill seeking weirdos. We behind but Em is faster than nikki because nikki is struggling to remember what it`s like to bike ride without trainer wheels.  Then it starts raining. Disappointing because we thought you were exempt from this if above the clouds. but apparently not quite high enough to avoid getting soaked.  So now road is vertical, slippery and muddy for good measure.
Funny story:  Lachie is blasting down the road at full speed and all the rain smashing into his glasses is annoying him. He attempts to get rid of the rain by blowing upwards into his glasses.  Which then, of course, fog up completely.  bahahahaha.
To cut a long story short Em tried to go fairly fast but spent the entire day thinking she was going to die and Nikki spent the entire day goign at a snails pace because she was certain that, to, say, pedal,
would immediately result in her gruesome demise.
We rode through waterfalls, we rode through mudslides, we rode through eerie mist which meant you couldn`t see anything in front of you (comforting), we rode past lots and lots of graves.... and we survived to tell the tale! Hoorah! We did manage to get lost though during the eerie mist part (for once em is not to blame! she says she was following nikki! haahha. pish posh.) and tour guide had to come find us.  Muchos embarrassment wheeling bikes back to waiting group.
Boys: what happened girls?
Us: Shut up.
(boys laugh, we sulk)
and so we survived not only a very dangerous day but a very sporty day at that. wowwee!

after completing road of death and by association afterwards conquering many beers (we drink beer now) we caught short (3 hr) bus ride back to la paz (road of death and destruction taking us 70kms downhill from la paz  = long bus ride home in bus made of leaves). we stocked up on cuba libres (rum and cokes) and despite guides best efforts to regulate the drinking we arrived extremely happy and soulful sing song campers around 9pm that night, bed after long death road experience? NEVER! straight to bar and onto la paz nightlife to celebrate conquering life and being champions of the world with sing along. brilliant ego boosting experience (until saw video of everyone riding along then nikki snail pace woman trailing behind on death trail, maybe change career path from olympic champion mountain biker sooner than later)

The next day, sore muscles and other such olympic injuries later, we boarded the 12 hr bus to Uyuni in Bolivia to see the salt flats.....

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