Yes you guessed it…I’m in Bolivia now. Last time I wrote was right before heading off to Puno which was a while ago now. Puno is a cool town right on Lake Titicaca on the Peru side. I took a particularly slow bus with my friend Valentine. We got to Puno late in the evening and we were starving. After finding a nice hostel we got some amazing wood oven pizza. mmm.
From Puno one day we took a boat ride to the islas flotantes (floating islands) on the lake. Yes these islands are made from buoyant reads and people actually live on the islands. There is nothing quite like this anywhere else in the world. The people use the reads for the islands, the houses, and even can eat it.. Although I am really glad I went because the lake and the islands were beautiful it was kind of upsetting how touristy it was. The people sing at the tourists and offer themselves up for photos to get money. I was glad to get on the boat back to Puno.
From Puno Valentin and I took a micro local bus to the town right on the Peru side of the Peru Bolia border. The border was comical, just a tiny building with a man on a cellphone who stamped our passports without looking at us. Then we walked down the road a little farther and there we were in Bolivia. The Bolivia office was even more funny, four men hanging out together eating lunch in a little building. They stamped Valentin’s passport right away. I handed one guy mine and he took one look at my US passport and chuckled, “visa visa chica” he said. This is one of those times when being American is no fun. While my French friend Valentin has no problem coming to Bolivia I on the other hand am a not so loved American, and I had to purchase a 140 dollar visa. fun fun.
A taxi took us from the border to the lovely Copacabana which is on the Bolivia side of the lake. Copacabana is picture perfect. The town is small and has a lot of good food and a nice harbor. We climbed up a hill to have a lookout down over the lake and town. One night in Copacabana there was some live music in a quiet bar which was really nice. It took me a little while to wrap my brain around new money and a new exchange rate but once I got the hang of it we bought bus tickets and set out for the capitol, La Paz.
On the bus to La Paz I met two traveler Yusef and Natalia. They convinced me to come with them to a hostel called The Wild Rover which is a big mega hostel. It had a big bar, restaurant, several patios, and no shortage of backpackers to befriend.. We arrived in the evening to the enormous and dirty, yet somehow lovely La Paz. I had a lot of fun in La Paz with all the people I met there. I had a lot of good veggie food and did a lot of walking. La Paz has a cool street market with a witches market section. You can see a picture of some dried llama fetus on my facebook.
On day in La Paz I signed up to go bike the worlds most dangerous road. Yep death road as it is lovingly reffered to is just outside La Paz. I had a great little group and two cute guides who geared us up and brought us down the 40k road on the edge of a cliff.. It was beautiful in the mountains and I felt great after the ride. There are some cool pictures of this online too if you are interested!
From La Paz I took a bus to Cochabamba by myself. I found a nice quiet little hostel and spent the next day walking all over the city. Cochabamba was a nice place and had super awesome street art on every corner. I met one street artist working and we talked for a bit. I also took a cable car up a hill to see the giant white Jesus statue and a view of the city. On the cable car I met a really nice family vacationing from La Paz that I chatted with for a while. They had a little baby who was hilarious and adorable, probably around 2.
The next night I took an overnight bus to Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is where I am now and it is HOT. For all of you back in Maine where it is freezing I am sorry to complain…but it is sticky hot here. Santa Cruz seems like a cool city so far and I am excited to explore it! Hope all is well back in the US 🙂 Until next time, besos. Sienna