The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 44, Lake Titicaca Bolivia Style

The following takes place on  Monday, January 10

There seems to be a consensus among traveler’s I’ve talked to, as well as among those online, the Lake Titicaca is much nicer on the Bolivian side. Not that this motivated me to check it out from Bolivia, but it was certainly an interesting observation from people.

Now, whether this pre-conception would eventually taint my final thoughts, I’m not sure. I like to think that I’m very open minded and can make up my own mind even with such previous visitors thoughts swimming around in my head.

I guess we’ll see.

Well, here it is. After 35 days in Peru I was about to go through my first land border crossing. Now, the last time I took a land border crossing was when I took a bus trip from Saskatoon to Missouri to visit a friend. That didn’t quite turn out exactly how I had planned. Ignoring the fact that the bus from Regina to Winnipeg broke down, forcing me to spend two nights in Winnipeg waiting for the next bus to the USA, everything was going [relatively] smoothly.

Until I got into customs.

I was on my first trip by myself. American guards kinda terrified me. So it’s no wonder that I came across as nervous, stuttering out my answers. I became the only one on the bus to be pulled aside, patted down, and have my luggage looked through. Probably didn’t help that I was working on a paper for university on American foreign policy so I had said books in my luggage.

So with this in mind, I boarded the bus in Puno headed for Copacabana, Bolivia.  The bus stopped in this tiny town right by the border to allow people to change their soles to bolivianos. I opted to change all my money even though the exchange rate kinda sucked. I had heard from numerous people that Copacabana had no ATMs and, not really knowing what prices were like, didn’t want to take the risk of running out of usable money.

IMG_1361Back on the bus but only for ten minutes as we had arrived at the border. It involved a three step/line process. First we stand in line to have the Andean Immigration card we get when we enter the country stamped. Second, we stand in line in a different building to hand in said card and have our passport stamped with an exit stamp. Then, after a kilometer walk(see picture) we enter Bolivia and stand in line again to have our passport stamped. It was a very painless experience.

And to add once again to the “It’s a small world” folder: while standing in line at the border, I ran once again into the Argentinian boys.

I arrived in Copacabana with no ideas as to where I’d be staying. No where that I could find online allowed for online reservations. I had a list in my hand of hotels and hostels, but nothing confirmed. So when I stepped off the bus, imagine my relief when there was someone already there handing out brochures for a hotel. At $15 a night, including a private room, private bathroom, full breakfast(eggs, pancakes, bread and butter, tea, orange juice, and cereal with yogurt), and cable tv, it sounded like a good idea to me. Plus, I didn’t feel like walking around the town searching for a hotel.

I settled into my room and decided to walk up the huge hill by the IMG_1375hotel to watch the sunset. And to get a geocache. The hill, the Calvario, is dotted with crosses as it is the final stop of a Good Friday pilgrimage for Christians walking from La Paz.  Each cross(there are over 20 along the way up the hill) is littered with pebbles that, at least I assume from watching some do it, the pilgrims place on each cross as they pass. As a kind of ritual or pennance.

After scaling down the opposite side of the hill to find the geocache, I sat and watched the sunset over the lake. I think I’m beginning to see why they say it’s nicer on the Bolivian side.

IMG_1383

3 comments:

  1. Looks like an awesome place to go Geocaching! I've been reading your caching logs. So awesome!

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  2. Heather Outten1/21/2011 09:39:00 AM

    Hey Corey, sounds like you're having alot of fun and alot of new experiences. I am now in Admin yay! so I have been doing the Bear Neccessities. In turn means I've been reading your blog and putting some of your stories in it for your Travelodge family to read. Hope you continue to have a safe trip :)~ Heather

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  3. Heather!! Congrats on the new job!! That´s pretty exciting. You should send me a PDF sometime of one of those Bear Neccessities. I´m curious! Hope all is going well at the hotel! No more floods, right??

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