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Bolivia

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Our illustrious salt tour ended in rough and tumble town of Tupiza, just a few hours from the Argentine border and in the heart of rugged red rock country. Laynni was simply thrilled to be back in, as she put it, “two sheet territory”, which I assume means it was warm enough to sleep with only two sheets on the bed, rather than 17.5kg worth of wool blankets, and not a rather disgusting reference to toilet paper. Tupiza was a welcome change from the cold high country along the Chilean border, much warmer and with an extremely “refreshing” pool to cool off in. In true Waskesiu alum fashion all water temps around the world are constantly compared to the infamously chill waters of the slough, as in “it was almost as cold as Waskesiu”, “I mean, it wasn’t Waskesiu cold, but still” or, “if I hadn’t already froze my nuts…

Feeling it was finally time to get active again, assuming, of course, that active means spending 8-12 hours per day in a bus or jeep coaxing along an ever-growing set of hemorrhoids, we hit the road south from La Paz, taking a night bus down to Uyuni. This dusty little railroad town has a nice quiet feel and one kick-ass restaurant (Minuteman Pizza – best pizzas we’ve had yet, and we’ve had quite a few). Most people just stick around one night (if that) before heading out on a tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats, probably Bolivia’s most popular and well-known attraction. Our personal adventure was to be 4 days and 3 nights with a company called Tupiza Tours starting in Uyuni and ending in Tupiza, a rough little country town near the Argentine border. We had heard many horror stories about these trips so were lucky to coordinate it…

So, as predicted lat time, we spent a whole lotta time taking advantage of the hammocks at our hotel in Rurrenabaque, watching smugly as group after group came and went after just one night. The general pattern went a bit like this: Arrive around 5 pm and step tentatively into the lobby Ask about vacancies in halting Spanish Follow someone from the hotel back to see a room Exhausted and covered in more dried sweat than a daytime hooker heading home in rush hour they would spot us sprawled in hammock-ville, blissfully half-awake, and their eyes would remain glued in our direction even as their bodies hastened toward the room. At this point you knew they were going to accept faster than you when offered a handful of wet wipes after a weekend with Paris Hilton. Then you could set your clock to one minute and thirty seconds, just enough…

“Ooh yeeaaaaahhh! My god! That feels sooo gooood! Yes! Yes! Ye-“ “All right”, she rudely interrupted, “that’s enough, Dean, it’s my turn for the shower” Mmmmmm, nontoxic water… Three days earlier: We rolled out of bed, spry and perky, excited to embark on our next adventure – a three day bus and river jaunt that would take us from the quiet, laid back mountain town of Coroico (that of the mysterious wireless internet fame) to the quiet, laid back jungle town of Rurrenabaque. Drifting quietly down a mighty river past thickly jungled banks broken only by the peaceful image of local villagers going about their daily lives. Well, that did turn out to be the case…..occasionally. More often, however, we shifted and fidgeted, unsuccessfully attempting to find a position that would relieve our aching ass/back/legs as we sat cramped in the long, narrow motorized canoe. There were times when one,…

Although the tranquil little mountain town of Sorata wasn’t technically very far from Copacabana, getting there did involve some typical Bolivian complications. Starting with the fact that the road, the main road to La Paz I might add, actually cuts across a corner of Lake Titicaca. Now when I say “cuts across”, I don’t mean in the traditional sense, which would of course mean on a bridge, but rather in a more rustic manner, which in this case took the form of a big, rickety wooden raft. Of course, the raft was only for the bus and any other smaller vehicles that could fit, they wouldn’t want a bunch of people getting in Tom and Huck’s way while they poled ‘er across the pond. Instead all the passengers were directed over to a smaller boat where we were taken across, anxiously watching as our beat up old bus crawled across…

Well, when I left off last time we had recently arrived on famous Lake Titicaca and were staying in the lakeside town of Copacabana. Most of you are probably familiar with that name from the song (Copa……Copa-ca-baaana…they’re the yada yada stone-age familyyyy! Or something like that). The song, however, is actually about a massive, gorgeous beach in Brazil which, although I haven’t been there personally, seems as though it may bear little resemblance to the grubby little port we visited. Now don’t get me wrong, we liked it there, it’s just that the nature of the highlights were just a bit different than you may be imagining. So, in order to allay the confusion and provide you with a more accurate vision of Copacabana, Bolivia I’ve compiled a short list of comparisons and contrasts: Brazil – sea level Bolivia – 4000 metres above sea level Brazil – long white sand…

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