The bus to La Paz was a normal enough coach. When we were about an hour into the trip, we had to get off the bus, catch a small boat across the lake, and wait for the bus to be transported across the lake by barge. Pretty cool
Getting to La Paz was a culture shock – a big bustling noisy chaotic city – the polar opposite of laid back sleepy Copacobana!
Our hotel, the Oiris, was in one of the main plaza – Plaza San Pedro – the same plaza where the jail is – San Pedro, made famous from Rusty Young’s book, Marching Powder. I had a view of the jail from the window in my room. Hubs and I could afford separate rooms so we got our own again. I am starting to love having my own room!
Being a Sunday night, La Paz was dead. We found a crappy restaurant for dinner. Dirty table cloths that had the odd cigarette burn in them, bright fluorescent lighting, greasy oil and vinegar containers. I was grossing out and so unhappy to be eating there. I was initially lured in by the photo of ribs at the entrance. Hubs suggested I not think about it. When my dinner came it, it was not ribs, despite me checking with the waitress twice that I was ordering ribs. Perhaps it was rib meat with out the bones? Who friggin knows. The meat was over cooked for my liking, so I asked for some tomato sauce to try and help things. Hubs was very happy with her steak, and to be fair, hers did look juicy and pink inside.
When the sauce was brought out, I tried not to grimace at the stickiness of the outside of the plastic bottle. Then the sauce would not come out. So I have it a little shove – no sauce. A harder shove, and the cap came clean off and my dinner became a tomato sauce soup with steam and chips… urgh!!!! GRRRRR. Not happy! Hubs was cracking up laughing – and yeah, if it happened to anyone else it would have been funny. But not to me and not at that moment. So I called the sleepy waitress over and asked her if they could salvage my dinner and put what they could on a clean plate. Even the waitress started to snigger but suddenly stopped when she saw my expression. How annoying!!
We walked up to a sweets place and both got a slice of cake each for dessert and headed back to our rooms. I was happy to be safe and sound in my room and away from the outside world of La Paz.
The next morning we went for walk and the city of La Paz looked a lot less sinister during the day. We checked out the witches market that sells all sorts of strange things – the strangest of all were llama foetus’s all dried up. They are used to make offerings to the Gods. It looked just plain wrong to me. The markets didn’t take much time and I was hardly interested in what they were selling, mainly because it’s the same old stuff you see everywhere.
Earlier on, Hubs and I decided that after the doing the World’s Most Dangerous Bike Ride the next day, we would go our separate ways for 10 days and meet up in Paracas in Peru – we wanted to do different things.
We spent the rest of the day organising ourselves in internet cafes and travel agents. I booked to stay in a recommended place in the Lonely Planet called Sol y Luna in Corioco, where the bike ride ends, then a place in Sorata called Altai Oasis, again a Lonely Planet recommendation, and a flight to Peru. The rest I would figure out in the coming days. Just that took me hours and hours. I had so many options in front of me of where I could go and what I could do that making a decision was really hard! I looked at going back to Quito to meet up with mum and dad who just landed there and had a free day the day after the bike ride. I looked at going to Rurrenabaque in the jungle again, and looked at going to Arequipa where Hubs recommended I should go. Anyway, I had the first few days sorted and felt good about that.
Hubs planned to go to Columbia – a country she didn’t get to last time. We were both looking forward to having our own adventures and some space. Plus we’d have stories to tell each other when we reunited.
Tomorrow: the world’s most dangerous bike ride!!