Much Ado About Nothing

Trip Start Sep 25, 2007
Trip End May 29, 2008

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Friday, March 28, 2008

Viewers may be wondering, ´what have we been up to over the past 10 days or so?´. Well, the answer is ´precious little´. Richard made a full recovery from pneumonia, and was released after 4 days, although remains an ardent Kylie fan. The cause was fungal, so it appears that living with a fine layer of mould on everything for a month isn´t good for you. I caught another stomach bug, which is still making life exciting. We tried to find immigration to extend our visas, failed, and are illegal overstayers from the 26th to 30th of March, which is how long it will take us to get out of here now.  Relax, they just make you pay about $1.30US/day for the overstay and send you on your way - it´s fairly popular amoung western travellers as it saves you money and about a day in queues to get the extension. Bolivia IS the underdeveloped country, so they don´t have a problem with people coming from other countries to overstay and work illegally.
We´ve also been struggling with airlines. After days of waiting, the Aerolineas Argentina office here told us they were happy to give us a new ticket to return home a week early for Paul and Angela´s wedding, but that they no longer dealt with Air New Zealand so we´d lose the transfer part from AKL to CHC. After an unhelpful answer from STA travel we´ve contacted Air New Zealand, and will keep you posted of any changes in arrival time. I suppose we can hitch if it comes down to it.
We did have a nice day at the zoo on Tuesday. After our work at the park, all the cats there looked fat and understimulated, generally in much smaller cages, but there was a huge, beautifully presented avary you could walk through with lots of native flora, and an interesting snake house (although I think it´s in slightly bad taste to put in cute little chicks for them to eat while the punters are around). Best of all were sloths roaming free in the trees overhead and the capybara lazing by the large pond. As you should all know, sloths and capybara are just the coolest things around. There were also capuchin monkeys roaming free overhead, thumbing it to the other species of monkey in cages. One of the caged monkeys put its hand out to try to get food from us, and I couldn´t help being reminded of the street beggars by the expert gesture of extending the open palm and shaking it up and down slightly. After I declined the gesture twice he grabbed a handful of dirt and through it at my face. The spider monkey troop was also charming, and they carefully extending their tails through the wire mesh to pick up interesting pebbles, beg for food or try and pinch your digital camera (joke´s on them - it wouldn´t have fit through the wire). Also on show were spectacled bears (they live in cloud forest and eat mainly bromeliads), tamarins, a huge anaconda (sunning itself motionlessly), an adult tapir, armadillos and 3 kinds of condor.
Stomach bugs aside, we´ve been trying to eat better - we´re both a bit malnutritioned, and Nick needs more bulk as he didn´t have so much to lose as me. It took us a few days to find non-touristy cafes and restaurants, but it´s definitely worth it because they charge about half the price and have much better menus. And you get to dine with yuppies instead of gringos.
We´ve also figured out what we´re doing in Ecuador, which was overdue.  Now it´s Quito or bust, starting with an 18ish hour bus to La Paz leaving at 5pm. At least when the trip´s over 16 hours you can usually get a bus with a toilet, and of course it´s always so exciting to see if it works, and how it smells. Tonight we´re travelling ´Cama Paradiso´ (literally ´paradise bed´) class, which may mean the seats recline a little. And we´re ascending 4km, so I expect winding and bumps. We can´t wait!
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