Breaking out of Bolvia

Trip Start Feb 22, 2011
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Trip End Ongoing


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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Breaking out of Bolivia and getting to Cusco, Peru was not easy. Due to the protests in Peru (yes - both Bolivia and Peru were having problems), we were told that it was dangerous and impossible to take a bus across the border.  With land transportation out, we thought we might as well walk across the border and see if any of the rumored boating options existed. Supposedly it was not hard to take a fast boat up the coast of Lake Titicaca to Puno and bypass the protests. 

So off we went to get stamped out of Bolivia . . . With our backpacks on, we walked across the road blocks of Peru and headed toward the shores of Lake Tikicaca.  Crossing through fields and farms  we went in search of the rumored fast boats. On the way we encountered Fatima and Genevive (French gals) who had apparently spent all day trying to find these fast boats. They were bogged down with heavy luggage and gifts they'd bought to take home with them (if they could get home). We joined forces to try and set off to find the fast boats. Some locals offered to "help" us, but it turned out they were mostly interested in getting money from us. In the end, we missed the boats (which may have been too packed to absorb us anyway) and we had to drag ourselves back across the border and back into Bolivia for the night.

The next day we all got up early and, with dozens of others leaving Bolivia, we piled onto a bus  that took us back to the border. Here, we again walked across the border stepping over rocks and tires blocking the way for vehicle traffic and we headed down to the shore.  Thankfully, this time, the boats were there!  Here we all slowly, 5 or 6 at a time, loaded ourselves into row boats that took us out to the big, slow, passenger boats that would finally get us to Puno, Pero at the southern end of Lake Titicaca. YAAAAA!  Even though this boat ride was 8 long hours - we were happy to safely make it across the border . . . at least to Puno, anyway.

We joined forces with a few more friends we met on the boat (plus our French friends) and we all went out to dinner in Puno, treating ourselves to well-deserved pisco-sours. The next day we went in our separate directions, as backpackers do, and continued our journey from Puno to Cusco, Peru.  Unfortunately there were still impassable roads ahead. What was should have been a 6 hour bus ride became a 12 hour ride, because the bus would have to bypass the main road, taking rough back roads to get there. These roads proved to be to quite rough for one of our tires that blew out on the way.  And since we were in the middle of nowhere, we had to drive for a good hour on a shredded tire before they could change it!  Stuck again, we headed off for a walk to enjoy the surrounding area and roaming llamas.  We were pleasantly surprised to see that were able to change the tire without proper tools and we were on our way in about an hour.  . . to at last arrive in Cusco!

Note: Within 2 days of being in Cusco, we bought a flight out . . . we had enough with ground transport adventures!  At least for a while anyway.
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