This was the price to pay for the restrictive few days travel window that I had to work within meant another early morning departure to make my G Adventure group meeting tonight in La Paz.
The 2 hour bus trip following the Lake Titicaca and the fish farms to the border with Bolivia was broken with a toilet stop at Pomata. I do not know why the locals had to queue for so long to get into the bank.
Passing the weekly animal market I could see the brought animals all tied up on top of vehicles and being taken away. Our or any SPCA would have a fit.
Border crossing - I've done a few but this one was different. We all piled out of the bus and into one of the many little money exchanges to convert our remaining Peruvian sole or US $ into Bolivian currency. No paper work so I don't really know the exchange rate or even commission that was charged.
Then into a building to get a stamp, back into another building for another stamp on the reverse side of the same piece of paper. Why not both at once?
Walked under the arch that signified the border and into the Bolivian Immigration building for another stamp. No security check. From observation our bags were merely wheeled over the border in hand trolleys / carts to the next bus. Smuggling is apparently rift between these 2 countries ... so easy.
Onto another bus and while I waited for the rest of the pax to undertake their border formalities, took a few photos of this border town.
Onwards for the short drive to Copacabana. No, not the Brazil one ... wish it was.
A short walking tour of the main square and cathedral where a wedding was in progress. No photos though the guests were happily snapping away. I should have.
Outside were all these vehicles decorated in flowers. I thought it was the bridal cars. No, these are people's vehicles that they came here to get them blessed. Apparently any new or second hand cars brought in Bolivia the owners try and make the journey here for this. I saw vans and even the big green Grinch truck all decked out in flowers getting blessed. The flower markets would be having a field day.
Walked down to the wharf and soon we were away for the ride to Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun). I knew it would be a short tour of the island but this was better than nothing. I had expected to see a pile of old stones but to my surprise Trans Turin had developed a small cultural air conditioned centre with landscape gardens. Well done.
Being so high it was another huff and puff up the steps.
Found out that:
Llamas have long necks and their tail are UP.
Alpaca has long hair and their tails are DOWN.
Vicuñas have short hair and a long neck.
I got my reed boat ride but didn't expect to be providing the slave oar power!
Back on board a smaller catamaran and lunch as we cruised further along towards the distant shore and eventual bus trip to La Paz.
By now the sun was getting low and the clouds were again in the distance forming dark rain clouds and seeing the ocassional lightning strike fork it was dark when we got into La Paz at about 7.30 pm in the light drizzle. The transfer service was great as we were off loaded from the bus into a van and then dropped off at our hotel.
Check in and the "G Adventure" group was about to leave for their farewell / welcome meal so I joined them. Good timing! Heard about some of the adventures that the group who had just finished their tour had just encountered.
A long and full travel day.
Arriving in a city at night and in the drizzle with no idea of ones orientation was interesting.
Tomorrow another adventure begins!
Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun)
Saturday, January 14, 2012
La Paz, Bolivia