Copacabana (not the famous one)
Trip Start Jan 2003
200Trip End Dec 2003
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Our triple century (can't believe it's been that long) was reached with an absolute minimum of acknowledgement, fuss and achievement. While Copacabana is a pleasant enough town, there's a dearth of things to do and we've happily ignored these few options and done nothing. Travelling is different to a long holiday in more ways than I could imagine: sometimes you get tired. It's obviously not a mental tiredness (my brain is in fact slowly melting away and I'm currently in possession of an IQ of an average six year old) but you can't keep going indefinitely and a couple of days doing nothing is required once in a while (admittedly more frequently in our case). I can't put my finger on why this is but I do have a few theories.
While I've never fely physically threatened in Bolivia, the simple fact is we've met plenty of people who have fallen victim to sneak thefts. The literally shittiest scam involves someone throwing excrement on you or your bag. A second person politely and seemingly helpfully offers to clean you and your belongings up while someone else steals anything you're no longer keeping an eye on. With shit on yourself, this is generally everything! We haven't, thankfully, been subjected to this but neither can you completely relax in Bolivia.
Theory two is the altitude but this is a weak one because we should be acclimatised by now and we've suffered from laziness in places other than Bolivia.
The final theory invloves the food. There's a good reason London, and I dare say other major cities around the world don't have a Bolivian restaurant - the food is truly woeful. The most common dish, chicken and chips, is generally edible, but you can never be quite sure which part of a chicken your meat comes from and the chips are usually poor. The more traditional dish of Pique Macho (or "spicy to the male thing" as it's sometimes translated) - a kind of beef (or llama), hot dog, onion, olives and chips dry stew - can occassionally be tasty but more often than not suffers from a bizarre but common Bolivian culinary affliction - it's garnished with ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise. I feel like writing to the big cheeses in La Paz (or is it Sucre?!) and informing them that these are optional extras that come in colourful containers brought to your table upon request rather than things spread liberally on any main course. Bolivian cuisine's piece de resistance however concerns its sandwiches. We thought we had it bad here in Copacabana when our 'chicken sandwiches' contained bits of 'meat' (and I use that term loosely) which must have been difficult to even scrape off a carcass, and cooked carrots and green beans. Augustin though, on our Salar trip, proudly ate sandwiches of tinned tuna, cooked carrots and ketchup. With food like this on offer it must have some kind of knock on effect to your energy levels.
Lake Titicaca, while big, high and blue is not memorable and it's a shame, despite the food, to be leaving Bolivia on a low note. the country as a whole has been unforgettable and will rank amongst the top few when we inevitably get asked what out favourite countries were when we return.