I woke up today surprised to remind myself that my current address is Bolivia. Bolivia did come as a surprise, we thought we might come through the country...but really it was a last minute route change. Not super easy on the budget either...granted it is cheap here. 6.94 bolivianos to $1. but for U.S. citizens it´ll cost you $135. just to stand on bolivian soil, more of a political move than anti tourism stance.
Our first few days in the country we spent on the banks of lake Titikaka in Copacabana. A hippy-traveller saturated town. Turns out most of the young dreadlocked type use it as a resupply spot, as most of them live on the Isla del Sol. The locals, however kept us all wondering...they were not the friendliest folks we met, would this "welcoming attitude" continue throughout. We figured and hoped not...as many heavily tourist towns are, the locals could care less...if you wont buy their goods (at notably raised prices) 50 more extranjeros behind you surely would.
Our bus to La Paz was cool...somewhere in the middle the bus stopped and people started to get off, but not grab any of their luggage. I kept hearing "embarco" which means boat, all the more strange. So we filled off with everyone else, where we saw a small ferry for our large bus and small boats for us to board. Crossing the lake we landed in a plaza with packs of dogs, and drunken men trying walk or get on random buses. We watched our bus land and reloaded to endure a very bumpy ride into La Paz.
I always feel our angels and travel fairies are with us when such remarkable luck happens. Our friend Janelle is here in La Paz and we were hoping to meet up with her. But none of us have phones fro this country, so it takes a series of emails and timing to make that happen. We sent her a message and said when we would be coming in...that´s it! Our taxi driver couldn´t find our hostel after driving around for a while he just dropped us off on the corner it was supposed to be on. We walked one direction...the wrong one, then was redirected by a nice couple to the right location, where while we were standing waiting for the door to open who should walk by!! She was just coming from the bus terminal....had it been 1 or 2 minutes more or less we would have missed her, maybe completely!
So here we are in La Paz...a very busy and bustling capital. We´ve had some great food so far, and the people are very friendly! Yet as I write this Michael is sleeping off a stomach illness and Robin is fighting a chest cold. Today Robin and Xylia have gone to see a local wrestling match "Las Cholitas" women in their traditional skirts beating each other up...and I am left to wander the streets of La Paz, ducking out of the rain, into cafes for internet or a chocolate caliente. And as this may all sound lovely and adventurous, I am missing home terribly. I am finding it harder and harder to find the romance in a cold shower, a 12 hour bus ride, squatting over a hole, an unkempt shared kitchen, or the possibility of bed bugs in one more hostel. Yes, it may pass, but I have to say it publicly now.... I am ready to get off the bus! We are closer to home than we have been yet... 3-4 more months to go. I think it would help me if I knew the date of our return, yet as of now, we don´t have one. So until then I am going with it...testing my limits, and still enjoying the hot chocolate.