It’s strange thinking that just under three weeks ago we were in L.A. eating pancakes and staring at stars on Hollywood Boulevard. Now we’re in Bolivia eating cheese sandwiches for lunch and dinner, staring in horror at dead llamas in the doorways to shops at the Witches’ Market.
Bolivia feels a lot like Peru so far, with a lot of the same textiles and traditional outfits appearing everywhere. We’ve been told by a few people that Bolivians are a lot less friendly than people from neighbouring countries, but everyone we’ve met so far has been really nice. Sometimes I wonder how people treated the people they met for them to be cold and rude to them.
Our border crossing from Peru to Bolivia was the easiest overland crossing we’ve had. It took some time to process the whole busload of people we were with, but the stamp came quickly without any issues. If we’d been from the States though I’m not sure I would have bothered coming here, knowing their VISA fee is $160.
When we arrived into Copacabana there was a six hour gap between buses, to give people time to tour the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca. Mark and I couldn’t really be bothered with another mini-hike at a high altitude, so we opted to hang around the town instead. We wandered up the hill, ate lunch in a grassy area with some dogs, found a church to look at, strolled through the market and returned to the lake to drink lemonade at a bar for a few hours. There was a couple at the bar whom we’d spoken to a few times, including on our Lake Titicaca boat ride, so the time went a little easier having people to chat to.
Eventually the time came for us to get on the bus and head to La Paz, which was only a couple of hours away from Copacabana. There was one stop in the middle where we needed to cross over the lake, followed by a weird short stop for food in a place where I couldn’t find any meat-free options. I resigned myself to eating just the snacks I had in my bag for dinner, but we were surprised with popcorn when we were back on the bus as they played Jumaji on the screens. Not the healthiest dinner, but it was something.
Instead of going for another hostel we decided to stay in a hotel in La Paz as it was pretty cheap. The breakfast was also pretty good, which always swings my vote when I can make lunch out of it too. When we were dropped off to check in we realised a couple we’d chatted to over lunch on Lake Titicaca were also staying at the same hotel. This made me pretty happy because I love being given extra opportunities to hang out with people we get along with straight away.
After not really getting to relax in Cusco, we decided to laze around in La Paz instead. On our full day there all we really did was go out to book our salt flats tour and browse some of the shops nearby for souvenirs. I didn’t even buy myself dinner that day, though Mark gave me a slice of his pizza to keep me alive. We booked an overnight bus to Uyuni for the following evening, not even sure how we were going to fill the next day.
The room we’d been allocated was pretty rubbish so we made a few complaints and got 10% off, plus a few hours extra before we had to check out. We went for a wander in the afternoon and Mark got himself a new jumper with llamas on it. I was surprised he wanted something that wasn’t all grey, but obviously travel has changed his tastes a bit.
When we got back to the hotel our friends were just checking out, so we left again with them to see the one pretty street in the city before going out for some food. Once we were done eating pizza it was time for our coach, so we jumped in a taxi to the coach pick-up point and waited to be collected.
On the bus we actually bumped into some girls we’d met quite early on during our travels through Peru, who happened to be sitting on the same row as us on the bus. There was also a guy with a Liverpool accent sat just behind them, which made my day as it always feels like a little bit of home when I hear it.
I’m completely sick of overnight buses at this point, especially when they’re loud and they start off boiling hot, only to turn freezing cold in the night once you’ve taken a few layers off. I have no idea how I’m going to survive the journey through Chile in a few days as I can’t afford a flight and the only other option is more of the same.
Unfortunately my lack of sleep on the bus to Uyuni probably affected my state of mind on the salt flats the next day, but hopefully if I write a detailed enough blog post about it I’ll remember it in a better light.