The bit in between.

Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
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Trip End Oct 01, 2015


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Flag of Bolivia  , La Paz Dept,
Thursday, November 22, 2012

We awoke fairly early the next morning and went to a bakery in the town to get some breakfast and some snacks for our longest bus journey yet.
The choices when you leave rurrenbaque are to either fly - in a small plane and the flights are nearly always cancelled, rent a 4x4 or go for the cheapest option which is to slog it out on a bus for 20 hours with no toilet, windows that are normally stuck in a single position (closed so your boiling or open so you get covered in dust), and all manner of people and animals crammed on wherever they can fit. Naturally we opted for the bus! We left at around 11am and headed off on the unpaved bumpy road that leads out of town, within minutes we were boiling as the bus wasn't going fast enough to create any breeze. With another 20 hours to go we had no other option but to get used to it. As the bus left the terminal and headed out of town it stopped and picked up more and more passengers and with no seats left there was no other option other than for them to sit in the aisles next to our legs.
As you can imagine 20 hours on a bus doesn't make for a particularly thrilling blog entry so I'll summarise, we climbed the windy roads that seemed to be narrower than the death road looking out into dense jungle, the views were breathtaking as long as you didnt look down, there was an incident at a toilet break when someone ran after another bus screaming thinking it was there own and was leaving without them as we all watched confused and silent, we met a guy who owns a hostel in argentina who told us 30 people die every 5 months on this road- just as we were approaching the most dangerous section and tai started getting very very ill.
We arrived safe and sound in la paz the following morning after being bullied by an old man sitting at our feet in the aisle and to our surprise noticed that cirque del terror was obviously in the middle of a south american tour and was now in la paz, we saw the french couple from our pampas tour had a quick chat with them and then we just headed straight back to our cheap hostel and climbed straight into bed. Unfortunately there is not a great deal to report from today either as tai was so ill we didn't leave the hotel room all day.
The following morning we headed to the market and bought ourselves some breakfast before heading to a cafe to make use of their wifi, it had been a while since we'd managed to update our blog or email people do we spent a couple of hours catching up whilst sipping slowly on a tea!
As we left the cafe we bumped into Nicky and ingrid who were leaving that night, the time had come after almost 2 months for us to go in our separate directions! We grabbed a bite to eat with them and said our goodbyes before heading to a dentist to see if he could look at Tai's teeth, the dentist seemed to have built his surgery under the stairs in another shop and when the patient before emerged with a set of teeth , half of which were missing and the other half gold we decided to head to Lima and get it sorted there.
That night we jumped in a taxi and headed to a huge cinema and shopping complex that had recently been built in the southern part of the city. Although only being half an hours drive from the centre it was totally different, apparently the richest area, everything was cleaner and even the people looked different- they were all much whiter and there was even some blond hair! We watched skyfall- it was ok, then we headed back to the hostel where tai conveniently got ill again and so I had to go out in search of takeaway pizza for him!
The following day we headed to the bus station and booked our bus to Lima - an epic 27 hours of semi cama bliss!
We'd yet to download any of our photos from the past 2 months and so headed to an Internet cafe to start the process- 3 hours later about 20 had uploaded and we gave up. We got back to the hostel and I tried to look at the photos on the camera- they were all gone- the computer had given the sim card a virus! It was then a mad rush to get back to the Internet cafe, buy a USB and luckily we managed to find them in the recycle bin! Panic over!
I must say though I handled it well - no hissy fits or anything!
It was out last night in la Paz for a while and we figured we needed to celebrate in style and what better way than with a little visit to the cholitas wrestling!
Cholitas are the name given to the traditional Bolivian women that wear the bowler hats, sparkly skirts and cardigans and have long back hair worn in plaits down there back......and every Sunday they wrestle!
We got a mini bus to the arena and one of the ladies organising things told us some more weird and wonderful facts about this crazy country. Since we've been in la paz we've seen people dressed up as zebras running around in the middle of the roads, stopping cars and ushering people across- apparently its to try to educate people into using zebra crossings and is an initiative introduced by the government. We also learnt that the same tax rules apply here as in Peru in that if a house looks unfinished from the outside then the owner doesn't have to pay tax so what your left with are whole cities full of unfinished houses with rebar protruding from flat roofs as if another level is going to be built and bare concrete walls- however inside apparently they are completely finished.
We arrived at the arena which was basically just a cold concrete shell with a ring in the middle and one side concrete tiers and the other 2 rows of plastic chairs for the tourists. We got our seats ring side and stocked up on popcorn.
We had no idea what to expect and when sponge bob square pants got in the ring with a guy dressed in full leather we were both left speechless!
They then proceeded to slam dunk - or whatever the wrestling term is - each other with the good referee sticking up for sponge bob while the bad referee would kick him when the other wasn't looking!
The next round was a cholita against a guy who seemed to get kicked in the head at one point and then spat blood out right in front of us!
Next up was 2 cholitas and the highlight of the night so far. The first cholita emerged and when through the usual performance of dancing around the outside of the ring before getting ready to wrestle inside the ring, then the second cholita came out and begun to carry out the same ritual however this cholita was quite a lot larger and was much more enthusiastic and energetic with her dance moves! Everyone was laughing and then she stopped in front of tai motioning him to join her, at first he pushed his chair back and was repeating no way over and over but the cholita much to my delight did not take no for an answer and dragged him up and round the outside of the ring spinning him twirling him and kissing him for all to see!
The fights got more and more ridiculous, bits of metal were thrown as were the fences protecting the crowd, as the wrestlers moved so did the crowd and people were falling over each other to get a good view, at one point one of the wrestlers stole a litre of coke from someone in the crowd, shook it up and sprayed it all over everyone! It was utter chaos!
By the time we left we were all freezing and after trying to warm up with a horrible coca tea we just headed back to the hostel to get packed and ready for the next day.
The next morning we headed back to our wifi cafe and stocked up on books and podcasts - tai also persuaded me that the right thing to do was to buy the next episode of breaking bad so we could watch that on the bus if the films weren't in English- we bought it but the wifi wasn't good enough to download even one episode.
We checked out of our hostel and the owner gave us a kiss and a couple- maybe we'd been there too long!
Again there isn't really much to report about the next 27hours, tai was still ill, most of the films were in spanish and it was a LONG journey!
We arrived back in Lima the next evening and headed back to condors house, it was like going home everyone was really welcoming we went to the supermarket, grabbed some dinner and had some beers with billy and renato and caught up on the last 2 months. Billy told tai he would help him with a dentist and we met another English guy who had also had problems with his teeth- he had needed a route canal and after paying a fortune for the operation found out they'd carried it out on the wrong teeth!
The following day we headed off to explore Lima by ourselves for the first time, laughing to ourselves about how nervous we'd been on our first visit here. We went to park Kennedy and found a market there, we also found another cinema and booked tickets to see the perks of being a wallflower- it was ace, much better than skyfall!
We had another chilled out night at the hostel and watched films as tai had a dentist appointment the following day.
The next day we went to the dentist with billy- it was on the other side of town in the middle of a housing estate, tai had an infection in his gum which had gone to his bone and so needed an ultrasound treatment and also a new filling - all for 70 pounds.
On the walk back we went to a park where they had a steam train, a large morrocan style arch and bushes that had been shaped like llamas!
We got the bus back and then headed to the beach. The last time we were in Lima it was really cloudy so we were shocked to find a really nice beach overlooking a crowded sea of surfers. We stopped to find out how much surfing lessons were but decided to wait till we get up north. As we walked back towards the hostel we passed a little cafe and decided to watch the sunset and get a chocolate cake and an apple pie each... It was bliss. Again that night we just had a quiet one and watched some more films.
The following day we decided to head back to the beach with a lonely planet and plan our next stops and what we were going to do in Ecuador and Columbia. We spent a few hours in one of the parks and then headed back to the hostel before navigating the local bus network alone to go back for tais last dentist appointment. All went well on the buses we got off at the right street and found the right turning and then it all went wrong and we ended up walking round the residential area for about an hour until we gave up got in a cab and the driver took us a few houses down to the dentist!
We walked back to the main road to wait for our bus back, as we waited we watched all the other buses passing, it south America they have two people working on a bus- the driver and another guy who hangs half in half out of the door shouting where the bus is going, waving them over- its almost as if they are trying to persuade people to change there mind on where they are going and to get on that bus instead!
On the bus on the way back we came up to park Kennedy and we saw a McDonald's- as soon as I mentioned it tai pretty much dragged us off the bus and towards it , then we noticed a burger king and so skipped back and forwards across the road trying to decide where to eat - the decisions we face, and so in the culinary capital of south America we opted for a McDonald's!
With full tummies we headed back to the hostel to get our bags and head to the bus station- next stop huaraz!
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Comments

Sarahs Mum on

Sounds like you will be able to cope with whatever life throws at you when you get back, I am very proud of you

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