hola people.. as expected.. wifi was extremely terrible in Bolivia so i apologize to the two people who actually follow this blog and were eagerly anticipating an update (HI MOM!).. BUT i'm back and boyoboy.. Bolivia was absolutely spectacular... from the people, to the landscapes, to the nightlife, and even the food.. which was pretty surprising because i was anticipating rice & fried shit the whole time... the country has taken my breath away… which i guess is to be expected since most of the cities are quite high, including La Paz which is the highest defacto capital in the world at 3900 meters…. there was a lot debauchery & fun timesss... as they say about bolivia.. todos es posible, nada es seguero (everything is possible, nothing is for sure)
where to start. i guess where i ended off (duh!) After leaving Arequipa, i caught to Puno, which is the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca.. didn’t spend any time there since i heard from people it wasn’t so great… so instead i decided to cross into Bolivia to spend time in Copacabana (not the Brazilian beach. also try and say copacabana without breaking into a tune).. which is the Bolivian part of Lake Titicaca. I ran into a few issues at the border since I didn’t have my ticket outta there, any hotel reservations or proof of my yellow fever vaccine.. but i did have US dollars (cash is kingggg) and a very sad face so I was able to sort everything out before my bus left.. it was actually a super close call since l happened to fall asleep while they were passing around the sign in sheet so "technically" i was never on the bus (ahh South America you disorganized mess).. but luckily these two wonderful girls Natalie & Kelly screamed and shouted to make the bus stop and wait for mee (chicks before dicks. literally.. the bus driver was a dick.)
After getting off the bus, we took the boat over to Isla del Sol where I had to climb a huge staircase with my 18kg bag.. it was quite the fucking workout so of course after all of that i had to treat myself to a bottle of wine while watching the sunset with the new friends i made. the wine + the altitude unfortunately ended up giving me the worst headache the next day when i tried to hike from the north side of the island to the south side so i had to give up..
From Titicaca i ended up going to La Paz, which i absolutely loved, even though i cried a ton trying to sort out more visa issues… i don’t want get into too many details but basically since Bolivia is not very technologically advanced, i had to physically track things down all over town.. IN SPANISH. which was a nightmare. there was a steep learning curve but at the end of the day, everything worked out(ishhh) I got my Brazil visa (Carnival here I come!!) & mailed my medical results to Australia plus I got to spend a lotttttt of time chatting with locals/improving my spanish which is always niceeee.
i have to admit i spent a ton of time partying in La Paz (to ease my frustrations obvi) It’s seriously a hedonistic heaven.. which is why i can’t disclose a few things i did (SORRRY y’alll) but I had LOTS Of fun.. i spent way too much time in the bar at the Irish hostel, Wild Rover, where i met a ton of good lads & matessss (obviously Irish and British) and danced on the bar and closed the place down by singing (shouting) songs on the top of our lungs… i had thanksgiving there with a bunch of Americans watching REALLLL football and eating chicken wings after going to a Cholitas wrestling match which was one of the weirdest things i’ve ever seen in my life.. a few Bolivian women dressed up in traditional clothing wrestling each other in a ring. i had to laugh and take it for what it is.. apparently its NOT just a tourist attraction, which at first put me off to it, but its something fun for locals (mainly children) to also watch.
i also managed to do some other touristy things like bike death road.. which i absolutely fucking hated.. i’m blaming it on the fact that i don’t know how to drive. it wasn’t physically challenging but i was scared out of my wits about going to fast and because the road wasn’t smooth, i felt every fucking rock and thought i was going to die.. and my hands were so blistered. AND I FELL OFF :(
I much preferred the teleferico ride which was cheap and had stunning aerial views of the city (goes from the most richest area to the poorest so its a pretty interesting dynamic)
I also stood outside the infamous San Pedro prison cus i was a bit too scared to go inside... a couple of guys were trying to sell me tours/cocaine.. which i declined... if you've never heard about San Pedro.. you should totally read Marching Powder. Short blurb from Wikipedia:
San Pedro prison is the largest prison in La Paz, Bolivia renowned for being a society within itself. Significantly different from most correctional facilities, inmates at San Pedro have jobs inside the community, buy or rent their accommodation, and often live with their families. The sale of cocaine base to visiting tourists gives those inside a significant income and an unusual amount of freedom within the prison walls. Elected leaders enforce the laws of the community, commonly through stabbing. The prison is home to approximately 1,500 inmates (not including the women and children that live inside the walls with their convicted husbands), with additional guests staying in the prison hotel.
Crazy huh? … again.. THE SHIT YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH IN SOUTH AMERICA
After La Paz I headed to Sucre to try and learn spanish.. after the frustrations i had communicating in La Paz dealing with all the visa shit.. i knew i really had to improve. i ended up getting really sick when i first arrived.. i had food poisoning, followed by a cold, followed by my period.. i was pretty miserable at first, but i couldn’t have asked for a better place to be “stuck” in. Sucre was the cutest little place with some of the most amazing people i’ve met on my trip thus far. it was a really chilled place, but also super fun… i did a lot of studying & reading & relaxing but i also had a ton of long nights dancing, drinking & doing other unmentionable things... definitely felt like i was back in college again in some aspects.. including the fact that i found/drank a bottle of Andre & fourloko (#tbt) andddd got to nerd out and watch a ton of documentaries which turned out to be very interesting... especially the one on the mines in Potosi which convinced me to skip it.. and another one called South of the Border by Oliver Stone on Chavez and the rise of leftist governments in South America which came out in 2009 so it was interesting to see the contrast, especially given the recent election results in Argentina and Venezuela where conservatives/capitalist have regained control... and the ongoing impeachment hearings of Brazilian president Dilma Rouseff (I know I'm a fuckinggg nerd)
i did absolutely none of the touristy things in the city even though I ended up staying for 11 days at the Beehive, which had the best breakfast and even better people.. including the BEST SPANISH TUTOR EVER. Abi was an angel.. completely patient, so funny and super sweet. i feel like my spanish definitely improved (maybe it was more about confidence and actually practicing it. hopefully i keep tit up!) it was really hard to leave the place.. I MISS EVERYONE SO MUCHHH!! but alas, i needed to keep trekking along to Uyuni which was a magical/trippy place. Since this entry is already a thousand pages long, I'll save my stories/amazing pictures for next timeee but AHHH. its so nice to write again :)