Time to say good bye to Bolivia and start the trip back home :(
After saying goodbye to Alison C who started her 3 day trip to Isle de Sol as a party of 1, having finished packing, forgo my paid hotel breakfast and in the drizzle headed to the nearby "Restaurant - Snack 100% Natural" on Sagarnaya St 34 as recommended by Alberto. Found that it was finally open.
For just B/-22 or about NZ$ 4 or US $ 3 had a freshly squeezed papaya juice, fruit salad with muesli yoghurt and honey, a couple pieces of whole wheat bread with raspberry jam and butter, 2 scrambled eggs and coffee to finish. You can see why I forgo my below average hotel breakfast for this healthy day's starter! They had a big bottle of hand sanitizer on each table. Nice touch. Wonder how many bottles go missing?
I didn't really have anywhere else that I had really, really wanted to see so after a bit of window shopping ended up in the Fair Trade store that Alison C had pointed out to me. While all nice and more than reasonable price wise, would I wear it back home? No. Not finding anything that matched my remaining B/- headed back towards the hotel and found nearby in the same building as the Hotel Roasario another much smaller Fair Trade store and spent my last B/- 71 or NZ$ 12 or US$ 10 on another dust collector. When will I ever learn? It was a ceramic mobile - 4 hanging llamas of course to remind me of Bolivia!
Earlier I had asked the hotel clerk if I could have a later check out till no later than 1 pm and he said fine or certainly words to that effect. To my horror when I left just after 12 noon, he wanted another B/- 100 to B/- 150 for the extra hour! No mention was made when I asked that it would cost me any extra B/- or else I would have earlier put my bags into storage. Won't write what went on in my mind but I simply left and caught the taxi for the airport. Not a nice way to leave a country and finish a trip.
Walked into the terminal and to my utter surprise Erja was still there. I thought that she had left much earlier this morning but her flight was cancelled and she is now scheduled to leave tomorrow at 5 am. To my horror American Airlines did not compensate her or even put her up in a hotel overnight because it was "weather" related. She elected to stay at the airport for the 24 hours. To make thing worst the airline had collected her original boarding pass that had the US$35 / B/- 174 airport departure tax sticker on it. I truly hope that Erja resolved that small but important issue as oppose to paying for another departure tax on her new boarding pass. Then I used my g-mail account and she wrote to her Helsinki friend to advise of the day's delay.
PS Glad to say that when I got to Northern Chile later today that I received a response in Finnish of course so that at least I knew Erja's message had been received ....
I finally worked out why my 4 pm departure from La Paz which arrives in Santiago at 9 pm took so long for that shortish distance! How silly of me. It had a hour stop over in Iquique, Northern Chile where we cleared immigration there but customs was done in Santiago. Plus turn the watches forward ahead by an hour.
Then there was the temperature and altitude change. In high La Paz it was about 10 C when I left and the forecast for Santiago was in the low 30's. So guess who still had a short sleeve merino thermal on when one arrived at 5 pm in HOT Iquique which was also back down at sea level?
The whole flight from La Paz down to Santiago was great for me. I had pre-booked a window seat 6a and to my luck it was on the left hand side of the plane. With the setting sun on my right and the snow capped Andes to my left, I was at times mesmerized for hours by the slowly and ever changing beautiful yet stark and barren landscape below as we followed the desert southwards. The roads below looked like the Nazca lines. The shadows caused by the hills slowly lengthened as the sun set. It was only just before Santiago that a bit of green appeared below.
I make no apologises for the number of same type of photos taken.
Soon we landed at 9 pm.
Knowing the airport transfer routine now, it was straight into a taxi for the short trip to center city and Hotel Gallerias. One more day in Santiago before tomorrow's 11 pm night flight. What to do tomorrow?
Time to head home ...
Thursday, January 26, 2012