Since my last entry I have left Cusco and have skirted around the side of Lake Titicaca staying in predominantly dumpy Hotels or Hostals and seeing hardly any foreigners like myself. Luckily for me the weather has been fine and sunny every day with light winds. And since I am on the alti plano I have stayed at around 3800 metres the whole time with the occasional climb to 4000 metres and then a slow drop to 3800 or so. The Andes though still refuse to let go.
I met a couple of Italian cycle tourists going the other way as I was heading for my final border town between Peru and Bolivia. I asked if there was a Hotel or Hostal at this town and they said “O no, you can’t stay there, it is a very bad place. We took a bus through there because we were advised against staying!”
Well I had no option and I couldn’t for the life of me think how it could be any worse than some of the other towns I’ve stayed in(some of these cycle tourists just need to toughen up I thought). So I rolled on in and there was the usual chaos of Peruvian towns except this one had a bridge crossing into Bolivia and the Customs post for Peru on one side and Bolivia on the other. I have never done a land border crossing before so there was a bit to take in.
Firstly I had to consider where to stay the night. So chose the nicest looking dump Hotel on the Peruvian side and then I had to think about how to change money and what money changer I should use and finally I had to suss out the customs post. My little hiccup was that I had entered Peru on my NZ passport so had the stamps in it. So I knew that I had to leave Peru on that passport. But I wanted to enter Bolivia on my British passport because my next country will be Paraguay and I don’t need a Visa for that country if I’m British but I do if I’m a Kiwi.
|The Border Between Peru And Bolivia.|
First cock up was staying on the Peruvian side because when I woke up in the morning it seemed the whole of Peru wanted to go to Bolivia and the queue was a mile long. Whereas the night before there was no queue. I joined the line and after an hour I was in front of the customs man gently shaking in my bike shoes. He looked at me carefully and then stamp, stamp and that was it. I changed my money getting quite a lot of Bolivios for my Peruvian sole and I was on my way across the bridge.
On the Bolivian side when I finally found the customs office, the very stern customs man was having none of my fresh UK passport with no stamps in it, so I had to show him my NZ passport. Thinking at this stage I’d be locked up for having two passports on me he just happily looked at the Peru stamps and then stamped me in on the NZ one. Bugger I thought. I can see trouble down the road when I get to Paraguay, but what the heck I’m in Bolivia. And off I went into a new country.
|More Hard Cycling . More Rice and Chicken.|
On my first night in Bolivia I stayed in La Paz. La Paz was ok. I managed to find a half decent Hotel that had a hot shower and TV that worked and I almost got everything I wanted in that at reception they said they had Wi Fi. But you guessed it, I tried and tried but my net book wouldn’t connect to it.
I also had an initial drama in that the power socket plugs were all different and I didn’t have an adapter. (Luckily I have since found out that the Peruvian one fits in).
The socket thing I think now is not an issue because since leaving La Paz I have not seen a single Hotel with Wi Fi. In fact since leaving La Paz I have not seen a single Hotel at all! Whereas there was accommodation everywhere in Peru, in Bolivia there seems to be none. I’m thinking that they don’t have much need of it because nobody in their right mind would want to stay in the sort of towns I’ve travelled through. Last night I had to freedom camp along the side of the road, and tonight I have managed to get a room in some run down place but you certainly wouldn’t call it anything but dumps Ville.
My advice is don’t under any circumstances bring your girlfriend to Bolivia to impress her, and no matter how expensive your wedding was don’t try to make it up with a cheap honeymoon in Bolivia. It will only end in divorce. In my dive tonight I did manage to clean off the dirt from last night’s freedom camp in the Luke warm shower but that was all.
|Middle Sized Town. See Anything of Interest?|
And to top it all off I’ve gone the wrong way and will have to back track 20kms tomorrow to get back on route. Maps appear at times not to be completely trustworthy here. The town I was supposed to stay in last night marked on the map didn’t exist and the town I’m in tonight clearly marked on my route has no way of getting out of. The Policia have told me to go back down the valley where I will find the road I need!!
|There's Always Public Transport Out Off Here! No I'm Not That Desperate Yet.|
Finally, scenery in Bolivia? So far I haven’t seen any. Unless you like scrubby hills. As soon as I see some scenery of note I will let you know. Basically for now I just want to see the road head downhill so that I can stop taking altitude pills and make up another day that I am behind. But first I have to somehow find my way back on course.
O’ and if I ever find Wi Fi again I will post this.