Nic and Fi 'around the block' 2007 travel blog

Nic in the Potosi mines - very cramped!

Old lady in Sorato

Llamas in the clouds

Andean children

Our guide Fernando!

Amarillo!


Hola Chicos!

Its been a while since our last epic entry! Since then, we have made it out of Sucre (Bolivia), the beautiful capital of Bolivia. Here we studied spanish for a week, lived with a family (which was a great experience, except for the food!) and chilled out. Our spanish school was a great way to meet a lot of cool people (travellers and locals), who we ended up playing walley with (a game similar to volleyball but still we don't understand the rules), went to a Bolivian rock concert with Bolivias BEST (pretty crap) and had a texas hold'em night. We witnessed a protest with hundreds of thousands of people, dogs and fire-crackers, everyone marching to have the movement of the governmental departments to Sucre from La Paz. Because afterall Sucre is the capital of Bolivia. We weren't game to tell the locals that we thought La Paz was the capital - ooops!

So after a few bouts of food poisoning for both of us (god, we have poo stories to share now!) we went on an overnight bus to La Paz. Freezing - the pain we experienced being so cold aaagh. We arrived in La Paz sleep deprived and slowly started to thaw out. Our plan was to explore La Paz later in our trip, so we got in a taxi to head to the bus station.

"Please take us to the bus station. We need to catch a bus to Copacabana." Fiona said to the taxi driver, yawning.

No problem! We arrived - all the locals there were happy to sell us tickets to Copacabana and we got seats on the bus that was leaving in two minutes. Went to the bathroom, came out, had to run to catch the bus leaving with our packs! Phew - got on the bus, and feeling good.

Fi says to Nic "Wow - that went soooo smoothly!" Smiling brightly.

Nic replies "Yes, but aren't we meant to be going to SORATA?"

Shit....

After a bit of embarressment, hassle and hitching, we made it to Sorata - a really gorgeous chilled town nestled in lushious green valleys with surrounding snow-capped peaks. We rested for a day and then headed off into the remote Andean wilderness, with tranquillo Amarillo (spanish for mellow yellow) our trusty mula and Fernando, our wonderful guide! We had decided to do the illampu circuit - which has been closed for two years recently due to robberies, but is reportably safe at the moment. During these 7 days we camped everynight above 4200m, one night even at 4700m, waking up to frozen tents but clear skies!

The highlights being:

- meeting village children, such beautiful dirty faces!

- doing the 5050m pass, we were walking pretty slowly due to the altitude!

- LLAMAS! Often we would think we were totally alone but would look up and see 10 or so llama faces peaking down at us. Or, thinking your alone having a wee, only to then be surrounded by llamas, interested in what you are doing!

- Our second last day was certainly an adventure. We awoke early to do the 5050m pass, walking over frozen streams and doing a steep rocky climb. This was the day we had all been fretting over. "There's banditos in them hills". After lunch we needed to cross the marshlands near lake San Francisco - sure no problem, we thought. Until our guide spotted a lone bandit approaching us from the left to cut us off. Once we realised this bandit was running towards us, and that our guide was running to get away, we started to shit ourselves. Finally the bandit caught up to us. After an intense handshake, and then exchange of words between he and Fernando.... we were allowed to walk on (with all our things). We couldn't believe our luck. Nor could Fernando. Fernando got a good tip and we got a bit of a scare.

- The last day was long and hot with some interesting short cuts through small farming villages, and finally we returned to the sheltered valley of Sorata.

For the next 2 days, Bolivia would not let us leave Sorata due to the customary road blockaids. We spent these days reading, eating and drinking in the few restaurants of sorata. One of these venues, a true rasta bar, sported a very friendly little monkey named Wilson.(He seemed to recognize Nic as one of his kin!)

Finally, here we are in Copacabana, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Its beautiful and great place to relax some more....

Thinking of you all.

Much love

fi and nic



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