Worship The Sun

Trip Start May 30, 2005
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Trip End Sep 30, 2006


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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Tuesday, April 4, 2006

When it came for time to leave Coroico I had to go back up the īDeath Roadī, I did have some company as Max was heading up the same day. We chose a small minivan to take us up as apparently itīs the big buses and trucks that tend to go over the edge. It was a beautiful ride and I saw more of it this time as I didnīt have to concentrate on riding my bike down. My heart was in my mouth a couple of times though as we passed other vehicles coming the otherway, including some huge buses. They couldnīt have paid me to go on the road in one of those.

We got back up to the top of the hill and sighed some collective relief. From here it was literally all downhill back to La Paz. Max was heading onto Sucre that night to spend a month there for Spanish school. I have to say that I was jealous of this and would have loved to have headed there with him, but then I wouldnīt be doing Peru justice as thatīs where Iīm heading next, well, fairly soon.

I just had one night in La Paz and spent my time shopping for souvenirs and then posting them back to the UK. This turned out to be a torturous process taking a couple of hours of waiting in queues while you watched on in amazement how ineffcient the staff were here. I tell you the queues for the Post Office in the UK are a sheer joy compared to this.

With this I left La Paz on a bus to Copacabana (Her name was Lola....), A few others from the Post Office queue had been doing the same as me and ended up being on the same bus. I arrived just as the bus was about to leave. I managed to get on and get a seat, I asked the guy how much it was and he said that it was usually 15 Bolivianos, but I could go for 12. Errr, ok, I was willing to pay 15 but who am I to argue.

The funny thing was that whenever I tried to give the conductor the money he always ran off elsewhere. I couldnīt exchange my cash for the ticket. After a little while I understood why. Weīd arrived in īEl Altoī, the new city that sits on the plains above īLa Pazī, here they informed me that Iīd need to sit on the floor as my seat was booked from here, What!!! Thatīs why my fare was cheaper and why I wasnīt getting a ticket.

I have to say that I wasnīt best pleased and started arguing with the guy, basically telling him that I wouldnīt have got on the bus if Iīd known and that I could have caught another one. It seemed to do the trick as he walked off and after a little while he came back to collect my 15 Bolivianos for my ticket.

The ride was nice and it wasnīt long before we were riding along side Lake Titicaca. Another worldīs best was achieved here as itīs the highest navigatable lake in the world. Wow! We had to take a ferry across a narrow stretch of the lake as itīs a shortcut and meant that we didnīt have to go via Peru to reach our destination.

There was a little immigration booth here and there were a few of my new found friends that didnīt get their entry stamps when they arrived from Brazil. They also managed to fail to get the stamp in Santa Cruz and La Paz. The officials must have been saving for a party or something as they were more than willing to give them the required stamp, and a fine of 20 US Dollars, I can just imagine them thanking the tourists for being a bit careless in the first place.

I found a hostel without any problems, itīs a really touristy place with loads of places to stay, and itīs still the low season, therefore I had my pick. It was freezing during the night and I had to sleep with my clothes and hat on, then to cap it off it was raining in the morning. What have I done? I decided to plough on with my plans and grab a boat to īLa Isla Del Solī, īThe Sun Islandī. With a name like that how could I go wrong?

On the boat I started to talked to Frank the German beside me. Iīd been wondering if this would ever happen, but it eventually did, I met a real life guide book writer! He was researching the second edition of "Travel Handbücher Peru und Westbolivien". He confirmed my suspicion that itīs a really hard job to do, and that it means that youīre constantly traveling for 4-5 months without lesurely breaks in places like Coroico. Even when you do visit a place then you need to run around appraising Guest Houses in 60 seconds or less. Not easy.

We arrived in the North of the island, the quieter end, and I found somewhere to stay. Of course Frank came with me to have a good nose around as well. I was interested in what he did so I accompanied him around the small village as he did his rounds. Asking all about prices, showers, reservations, high seasons, the works. We then had a quick snack in a restaurant here, but itīs not all fun and games for Frank, he was asking questions about the menu, opening hours, he doesnīt stop.

He was great to talk to and was full of information about Peru and suggestions for me, so it was sad to see him go as he was walking to the south side of the island to return to Copacabana that day, visiting a few more hostels on the way of course.

Not many people were staying and the boat had been full of day trippers. By spending time with Frank Iīd given them all a chance to head off to the Ruins before I try and see them with a few less people.

The walk over was stunning. The Lake was a deep blue and the sky was clear blue, with the sun shining and heating me up nicely. I took loads of photos as it was just so beautiful.

The ruins were pretty nice, but it was the location that just made them stunning. I climbed the hill behind them and just sat there enjoying the ambiance and views. Over the other side of the hill the Lake spread out for miles and it was possible to see Peru, my next destination, on the other side. Some birds came flying over at one point to add to the melancholy feeling of that afternoon.

On the next day I wandered down the coast in the other direction. Amazing place. At the next town down I stopped at a restaurant that obviously doesnīt see many tourists.
"Iīm looking for a drink, what you you have?"
"Errrrm, how about a banana shake"
"Ok, how much is it?"
"Errrrm, how about 2 Bolivianos?"
"Ok"

With this she left the restaurant and to the shops, hiding the bananas that sheīd just bought from my view as she returned!

The next morning was terrible again and I decided that īLa Isla Del Solī wasnīt sunny enough, it was time to leave. I can start to understand why the Incas worshipped the sun so much. During the afternoon the weather was generally good and the sun pretty hot. However as soon as it went down the temperature dropped dramatically, absolutely freezing during the night and in the mornings. I began to worship the sun here as well.

I left on the boat in the early afternoon and was back in Touristy Copacabana before I knew it. I was only staying here one night before making my dash for Peru, time to say goodbye to Bolivia after about 3 months!
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