I thought we had seen the last of dodgy water crossings but this last hop to La `Paz was one of the craziest. All aboard the typical tour bus for an easy 3 hour jaunt to La Paz.
So it was a little unusual when an hour in we appeared to come to a stop at a large section of lake. no bridge, no overpass,no large ferries. hmmmm. What we did see were soma very small passenger boats (another 40hp engine) Ah, we get on the poassenger boats and another coach meets us the other side....no?
Ah no, they had a much better plan. They had what only can be described as rafts. Long warped, low in the water rafts. No longer and cetainly no wider than a ton tour bus. Surely not. yes sirreee. They punt the rafts (yes punt, small boys with long sticks) up to the waters edge. wedge them in with more driftwood and get the driver to drive the bus onto the raft. (Thanks goodness we do get onto th epassenger boats, but our luggage and our bus are essentially adrift and wobbling like crazy low into the water) They do have an engine these rafts (essentially a few more hand held fans at the back) and we stand open mouthed as we watch our bus essentially blow over the water on nothing more than a few lolly sticks stuck together.
La Paz is huge, a breathtaking site sprawled across a mountain. Its busy, noisy and fun. Everything you need is here including llama foetuses. Essential.
After some shifty hosteling in Copacabama we played it safer in Lap PAz. A well establishe chain hostel for backpackers with onsite bars. They take their responsibility very seriously as on arrival we were ´tagged´ paper hospital bracelets for the duration of our stay with the words ´íf you find me lost or drunk...please return too....¡´the shame.... we did get a free beer each night though so we happily waved our tags around.
We covered most of the town in the obligatory walk through including the ´Cocoa museum´Not so much a museum as an hour long lecture on the atrocities of the western world (mostly the spanish and American) against the Indigenous population and the Cocoa industry. They had a point, however it left for a cheerless visit.
Final day here and we headed up to 5300m at Chacalatya. The adventure was in the drive itself as another hammered old minivan held together by faith and sticky tape hurtled up the gnarly skinny mountain path. The views were out of this world. Only people up on the summit so Ive reclaimed it as part of the Boo Republic. A great walk in the snow topped mountains and pretty pleased we didnt fall foul to altitude sickness like one poor lady we saw later.
A night bus adventure tonight to another high altitude town called Potosi.
Big Dog Breakdown
La Paz: Llama foetuses for sale in the street??......great local micro brewery beers.