Close encounter with the Bolivian President

Monday, January 23, 2012
La Paz, Bolivia
... WOW = an hour's wait just now and I was finally rewarded with seeing this guy in the flesh.

I had heard so many good things about Evo Morales while on tour so finally seeing him was neat.

But first ....

After the all night 12+hour bus trip back to La Paz along wet roads, we arrived at the bus station and I immediately noticed how cold it was.

Check into Hotel Las Brisas and this time had a small outwards facing window. A filling breakfast at a Swedish ran "hole in the wall" place opposite Alberto's recommended "Restaurant - Snack 100% Natural" which was closed.

Found out that while Monday today, yesterday was an annual public holiday to celebrate Evo Morales second anniversary inauguration as President. But as it fell on a Sunday, today is the day off. Why don't we do the same?

I was planning to do the afternoon city bus tour but it wasn't running. So a short cat nap and repack with my gear. After a late lunch at a vegetarian place called Tierra Sana: eating their Oriental Wok, I wandered across and up to the main square with the main buildings adorned with the large colourful Bolivian and native Whipala flags.

Arriving and noticed all the locals waiting outside the presidential building. With the security vehicles all lined up, I guess someone important was about to leave so I joined the crowd and waited. Eventually the security moved us back with their batons forming the barrier and then out strode Evo Morales. With a few quick steps and waving to the crowd on either side, he was quickly inside the car and away.

I had set my camera to continuous and kept the lens wide. The pictures shows what happened. Yes, for me it was worth those few brief seconds.

With the darkening clouds above I headed back in a round about way to the hotel up through the narrow streets lined with stalls selling their various specialties items like wool, bathroom, shoes, clothing snapping discreetly as I went.

Final group dinner at Angelo Colonial Cafe / Restaurant with the wonderful mis match collection of bits and pieces. For me Pique a lo macho de Llama for B/- 90 (NZ$20).

Bit of a summary time as sent out while "on tour ...."

While On Tour uploading any entries or photos has been difficult for various reasons like no wi fi connection between the hotel and the network or simply out on the bottom south western part of Bolivia roughing it with no internet out there or .....

Even now, I am using the hotel slow computer with a keyboard missing many of the letters so it is guess work trying to work out even how to type in @....

Bolivia has really surprised me like its excellent food.

The salt plains and the south western circuit are a photographers heaven with 360 degree vista .... Love to come back on a photographers trip and use the morning and evening light amongst the arid, vast, desert like vistas. Just imagine the area around our Mt Tongario = Desert Rd and multiply that by a thousand.

Today is the last day of the G (Gap) Bolivian trip and it has been great with just 3 other people and neat (EXCELLENT) guide as well. Final group dinner tonight.

Had a 12 hour plus overnight bus trip to get here this am to arrive in both the cold = finally had to wear my pile jacket= and finally had some light rain which quickly cleared up. I am so surprised that it is rainy season as you could have fooled me that on the trip so far I had to bring out my raincoat just 3 times. Wish I had more T shirts.

Even with all this time I had had in the high altitude ie over 4,000 metres = 12,000 plus feet or as high as our Mt Cook = I am still like the others huffing and puffing my way up these steep cobble stone streets of La Paz.

Tomorrow have an all day tour to see some old ruins just out of La Paz = better be worth it but the day trip is only NZ $ 10 plus the NZ$ 16 dollars park or site entry fee and pay for your own lunch so ....

... then the next day I fly at 4 pm back to Santiago, Chile = overnighting there before the next day catching a 11 pm flight back home ....
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Godfrey Boehnke

Dear old ruin,

Neat to hear from you again & your Bowlivian exploits. If you cant get get back to the salt plains I can set you up with a pile of smoking salt & a Rangitoto sunrise ( with rain if you want )

Dont spend too much time blogging when you could be eating, sleeping, buying me gifts etc.

Got to go & set up new boat for trip tomorrow evening.