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Copacabana, Bolivia 2

October 5, 2015

South of La Paz. 2.10.15

One can’t help but notice the dogs that position themselves on the edge of the highway no matter where you go in this country. Like sentinels guarding the asphalt they seem to have their own territory and are usuallly spaced every one or two kilometres. They just stand or sit watching the vehicles zip by. Whether people throw scraps for them I don’t know. Whenever we stop for morning teea or lunch the hound whose area we have pulled up in usually wanders over, stands a short distance from us, and scoffs down any left over offered. It’s in the mountains of which there are many that you will see them.

Yesterday was spent taking in some of the sites of Cochabamba. A city of half a million it has the usual churches and museums but it can also boast the second largest statue of Christ overlooking the city. Thirty three metres and fortyfour centimetre high it is just those few centimetres higher than the one in Rio. It is a metre for every year of Christ’s life but the 44cms is that he was 33 and a bit when he died. They reckon that was why theyy made it just that much higher.

The Convent of Santa Teresa was something well worth visiting. The nuns were of the Carmelite order, very strict, and once ensconced, the nuns had to break off contact with the outside world apart from the odd family visit but even then they couldn’t see the other members or touch them. It was built initially in the 1500s and was falling into disrepair but is now in the process of bbeing renovated.

The roads today have been asphalt which is a blessing after our previous experience. Even a 4 lane highway I think the only one in the couuntry.

At Las Liilas where we spent three night in Cocha we ran into a Swiss couple, Janette and Freddy. They had been there for two and a half weeks waiting for some injectors for their Mercedes Sprinter to come fromm the UK I think it was. A lovely couple who have been on the road for over two years. Yesterday they heard that the vehicle was repaired and OK to drive.  They had a bad experience  of it blowing up on them some 150kms from Cocha and having to organize a truck to come out and have it loaded on to bring back to get repaired. Not sure how they got the Sprinter onto the truck.

On Shores of Lake Titicaca 3.10.15.

Bolivia seems to throw up so many challenges for the traveller I think we will breathe a sigh of relief when we cross into Peru in a few days time.

Last night we free camped about 500 metres off the main highway. La Paz was just too far to reach in the late afternoon. The land was flat, a wind was blowing but a small quarry leant a little relief. During the night it began to rain and at 2.30 I decided to shift the bakkie out of the quarry in case the rain made it difficult for us. The altitude was 3700 metres. Traffic noise was in the background but not annoying. We slept in, at 7.30 I realized the road traffic noise was hardly discernible. I looked out the door and it took a few seconds to register that the place was covered in 6 inches of snow. The waterproof fly over where we sleep was showing signs of collapsing but I was able too remedy that. Such a surprise. We have had everything the last couple of weeks but waking up to snow was the ultimate.

It was no problems getting back onto the highway and a few hours later saw us hitting the outskirts of La Paz. Second drama for the day. There is a camp site on the outskirts but we decided to go to a super mercado first to stock up. The Garmin put us in ever decreasing circles and yet still 13kms from the supermarket. We gave up and decided to give the city and the camp site a miss. OK, but Jane the Garmin lady insisted trying to put us on these tiny lanes forever heading steeply upwards. La Paz varies in height from over 4000 metres to 3600.  In the end I had to put the bakkie in Low 4wd to even have a chance getting up them. Then she headed us into a traffic jam, the first of three. Extricating ourselves from that was another unnecessary strain. Finally on the road north and out of the ribbon development we hit road works with numerous rough deviations. It was a trying day.But here we are, relaxing on the shores of Lake Tiicaca. The highest navigable lake in the world at 3830 metres. The locals have gone home, The natural noises around us have unfortunately been overpowered by some disco around the lake.Another strange thing abouut this country, not only do they charge foreigners a higher price for diesel or petrol, they often refuse to even sell it to them. They think it’s too hard to work out the price difference I think. Luckily there is 40 litres in our jerry cans on the back of the bakkie.

Hostal La Casa del Sol. Copacabana, Brazil. 4.10.15.

Cocacabana is a few kms from the Peuvian border. We were told the internet is slow here because the authorities didn’t want Peru stealing their band width. But we did find a connection with good speed parked outside a flash new hotel. The password had been supplied on iOverlander and I was able to post a blog before we were sprung and they turned off the modem.

Lake Titicaca is immense. I think the largest in Sth America. But the town has a chronic water shortage which forced me to ask why? It appears in earlier days there was a fair bit of gold and other mining in areas around the lake and arsenic and other heavy metals were just dumped into the water. Removing them for human consumption is an expensive business it seems. A lot of trout and dorado are sold in the restaurants here, I wonder how that goes with the heavy metal problem.

A relaxed day today the highlight being crossing a narrrow channel between two parts of the country. No bridges or fast ferries here. A series of barges with a small outboard motor on the back carrying two vehicles at a  time across the kilometre gap. Must have been at least twenty of these barges in action or waiting for customers. Lets hope a bridge is never built, it would put at least 50-60 people out of business.

On each trip we seem to reach a point where our initial surge of distances and exhausting times catch up with us and from then on we resolve to slow down, have more breaks and don’t try seeing everything in the guide book. Yesterday, on this trip I think was the day. La Paz was just too trying. If we miss out on things, what the heck. We should be enjoying or at least appreciating all experiences no matter how routine or mundane. This morning, instead of packing up after breakfast like we usually do, we sat outside enjoying the sun, watching the water birds in the lake and the locals spending time in their plots of land . A woman brought here three cows along to tether near fresh reeds. After coffee we packed up and headed off.

One Comment
  1. Ross Smith permalink

    Love reading your story as it unfolds, I think we would have needed 3 or 4 days to get over the La Paz experiences or alternatively we would probably have just kept going.

    Ross & Cathy

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