La Paz - Day 28

Trip Start Mar 17, 2010
1
31
44
Trip End May 21, 2010


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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Arica - La Paz

Miles - 338

Awake from 4.56am when some selfish bas*#ds were outside the door discussing their plans for the day!

The room is like a sauna with no windows, although light comes into the room through two large frosted glass panels to the outside corridor where they also put the bloody light on at 5am!

No breakfast, I'm starving after hardly eating anything yesterday.

We stopped at a little village - Putre, really nice place. We went into a little B&B, the owner didn't have much food and there were 13 of us but she gave us what she had. Bread, jam and banana yogurt.

Got to the Chile border to exit Chile at 12, wandered around a bit, no signs in English, we asked someone who directed us to a little window in a porta cabin. We handed over the paperwork for the bike and passports, he took the paperwork and gave the passports back. We asked (Mimed) if he was going to stamp them and he shook his head, we asked again but were still told no. So we rode the 9 miles to Bolivian border, where again we handed over our passports. Only to be told we didn't have a stamp...yeah we know!

So we had to go back, we had missed out another window in another building, thanks helpful man in the first window. For some reason you need to zig zag around these places not knowing what you are doing or why and nobody speaks English.

Finally all done by 1pm, saw some flamingos near the border, much nicer than seeing them at the zoo.

As soon as you are through the border it is evident Bolivia is a very different place to Argentina and Chile. The people look different, they are darker skinned and have a different body shape. There were women with little bowler hats perched on their heads in brightly coloured shawls and strange brightly coloured bundles on their backs. It is obvious straight away that this is a very poor country.

It is strange how different the place is too, just by crossing a border. It was very cold today, we were back up to 4800m and it was extremely windy at times too, making it not the most pleasant day. That together with the fact I was really hungry today and there were no nice modern petrol stations to buy anything (not even petrol! All the petrol stations between the border and La Paz only had diesel) means I couldn't be arsed to take many pictures.

Everywhere you looked along the route there were small communities farming the land, all members of the family were involved, even little babies were out in the fields, carried on their mums backed. It appeared to be a tough existence with very few comforts. Their houses were different too, many looked to be made from handmade mud bricks with straw roofs.

At one point we thought we must be going the wrong way as the road went on forever with no road signs what so ever. We started to go back the way we had come and then met Steve and Nadine coming the other way. After an eternity we came across a small town that put our minds to rest, we were going the right way. Our map turned out to be incorrect, it showed a turning, the one we had been looking for for ages, but in fact the road just continued without this turning.

Somehow together we made it to La Paz and the hotel. Riding through La Paz was a nightmare, we had been going for some time and I thought we must be in the centre, but we weren't. We had to go round and back on ourselves and all of a sudden we were looking down over the city...it was enormous!!

La Paz is in the Andes and is the highest capital city in the world, the altitude of the city ranges from about 4058 meters (13,313 feet) above sea level in El Alto (where the airport is located) to 3100 meters (10,170 feet) in the lower residential area.

Got to the hotel at 6.30pm and it was the best so far, two huge bigger than king size beds in the room, so I'm having one all to myself :o)

Had a lovely meal in the hotel restaurant.

I'm signing out for now. Will be back to taking pictures tomorrow and I must remember to take more of the people and buildings and not just the wonderful landscapes!

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