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!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Days 60-64, Getting Lucky in Cochabamba

The Following takes place between Wednesday, January 26 to Sunday January 30, 2011

What happened to Days 57 to 59? Well, somehow I don’t think anyone would really want to hear me spout out how I spent most of those days curled up under the covers of my bed back in La Paz, throwing up every hour. I was not a pretty sight. And my mom can attest, when I’m sick, I kinda turn into a snivelling baby demanding attention and pity.

When I finally felt better I grabbed a night bus and headed off to Cochabamba. A beautiful city that isn’t really on a lot of backpackers radar. Which is just my luck. It was like I had the whole city to myself. Plus, there were other things that occured that made Cochabamba one of my favorite cities I’ve visited thus far.

I arrived insanely early in the morning, much earlier than I had thought. Besides four other english girls, I noticed nobody else in the bus terminal that could be a Gringo backpacker. At the moment though, I didn’t put much stock in it. I was still too tired. I have yet to learn how to get a good nights sleep on a night bus.

I walked down the street, 6:45am, looking for a hostel, any hostel. I didn’t care. I just wanted sleep. A couple blocks traveling and I found a street full of hotels and hostels. Lucky for me, one was just opening up it’s gates. It looked rundown, the room I was shown was half the size of my bedroom back home(basically had enough room for a twin sized bed, two inches on either side, and enough room at the foot of the bed to open the door). Dear God I’m staying in a jail cell. No, jail cells are bigger.

Frankly, I didn’t care. I paid the B$40 and immediately fell asleep. I didn’t wake up until 1pm whereby I began my search for a better hostel. Preferably one that had a bathroom, shared or not, that didn’t smell like rotten bleach.

IMG_1720But beyond that interesting little introduction to the city, I found I came to love it. It’s cleaner, more organized(people follow road rules here!!!), and the food is amazing.

That first day was spent mainly wandering looking for other hostels(finding one just down the street that was much nicer. Could only stay one night. Found a different one on day three that I stayed at for the rest of the trip. Right by the main square).

Now Cochabamba is not what one would consider a tourist town. Hell, the entire time I was there, I saw maybe three other gringo tourists. I took one day to walk to the gondola chairlift to see the tallest statue of Christ on Earth. Most people think the one in Rio de Janiero, Brazil is the tallest but that is not true. The one in Cochabamba is taller by a couple feet. The view of the city around this place was amazing. The statue itself is massive and a marvel to behold. Though I always wonder why images of Christ show him as a Caucasian when he’s a Middle Eastern Jew. But I digress, it’s a beautiful statue nonetheless.

IMG_1764Cochabamba claims itself to be the culinary capital of Bolivia, hosting world class restaurants with world class chefs. Sure, I allowed myself to dine on some amazing salads and meals once or twice. But being in the culinary capital of the country still didn’t stop me from partaking in a lunch at Burger King, or having an ice cream float at this restaurant called Dumbo’s(yes, after the Disney elephant) that was made with orange ice cream and vodka.

I wandered the streets of the city everyday, soaking in – and loving – how clean IMG_1770the city was. How modern it was. Yes, this is the Western Civilisation citizen in me speaking, but sometimes I need it. After La Paz, this city is a welcome break. In reality, Cochabamba became my home in more ways than any other city has so far on this trip. Besides the few hours spent going to the statue of Christ, I did nothing really typical of a tourist. I did what I would do at home. I ate, slept in, went for walks, read books, ate some more, went to a movie(The Green Hornet, not a bad movie), and went to the local gay bar(where I met a guy named Andre from Costa Rica working in Bolivia with Doctors Without Borders). Andre was nice enough to let me hang out with him and his friends for the night, and we ended up making out on the dance floor. Nothing more, but still.

Well ok, that last part is not something I would normally do at home. But no one here knows me so why not!

While Cochabamba is not on most travelers plans when they go to Bolivia, I really honestly think it should be. It’s a beautiful, clean, modern, and cheap city. The people are very friendly, probably due to their love of anyone willing to travel there. Everyone smiles at you, says hello or buenas dias. Had my Bolivian visa not been running dangerously close to expiring, I would’ve stayed for much longer. But I had to keep moving. I still wanted to see the Salar de Uyuni before my visa expired. And Uyuni was still a full days travel away.

1 comment:

  1. Cochabamba sounds like a pretty nice place to go. I like going somewhere that is clean and has great food. It sounds like the bar scene was pretty happening as well. Way to go, Corey!