Happy New year to all of you and best wishes for the coming year!!!!!!!!!!!
By the way...broke my digital camera...so fairly unlikely that I will be able to load any photo up to the end of my trip....Got some diposable ones thought....
Last entry was Huacachina in Peru where I ve spent Xmas and stayed 5 days....only planned to stay 3 days there thougth, but a nasty stomack bug (diarrhea) made any trip in bus fairly unsafe..... quite painful but Very Very commun amongst people travelling in South America....(forget about Health and safety here :-)). Hot water with salt and sugar as the diet to get rid of it.....not complaining as some get stuck in bed for 2 weeks sometimes with this kind of stuff.... Ok, so left Huacachina on the 28th Dec at 4pm to arrive at La Paz (Bolivia) on the 30th at 2pm - Nearly 48 hours on the road (with bus changes) through central Peru and West of Bolivia. No need to say that the ride was fairly unconfortable combined with blocked toilet and the smell and noise of pigs and chicken from the baggage compartiment. Still the experience is unique, not just only because of the beautiful scenery we went through but also because during those long bus trip there is a massive sense of community between the locals and travellers within the bus which makes it very special....and it is the best time to get good tips about your next destination..
...So arrived in La Paz on the 30th. The view going down to La Paz from the high altitude plateau is just amazing. The Town with more than 1M souls is set on a tiny valley (3,650m altitude) squeezed on each sides by massive hill where all the habitations are. More up u get to the hill, poorer the people are, and in some area up hill gringos are clearly unwelcome. So arrived in La Paz mid afternoon and checked in Hostel El Solario, following a tip from a German guy in Huacachina..very nice place and only 2 pounds a nigth for a single room. Met a American couple and a girl from Switzerland there with who I went to dinner for New Year Ev. The place: an english pub ran by 3 mates from england and Ireland and one of the hot spot in town for local Bolivianos...the set dinner for all was a roast dinner (quite sureal in the middle of South America) and my first "Europen" meal for some time...Met a group of Auzie, french and German there with who I ve finished the nigth in a latinos club (Pena) until 6 am. Very Very nice...Never kissed so many girls from so many different nations in the space of 30 min...in a purely traditional "Happy New year" way of course!!!! Overall, excellent new year ev...and massive hangover the following morning..
This is the following day that I have met Bruno, a guy that Susan (the girl from Swizerland) knew - French guy, 39 years old who s been travelling on and off all over South America (including Bolivia) for the past 20 years (going back to france each year to make money for his trip). He was accompagnied by a cool guy from New Zealand called Paul, 35 years old. For Bruno, it is his last tourist trip to Bolivia. Having sold all his stuff in France he is now planning to stay here for good....The last 3 days has been just amazing as he took us to places in La Paz that tourist only dream off. Places where you get a feel of the real culture and local peoples. Having spend some time here already, he knows all the trick of the book and s got a massive network here of locals, knows where to and not to go, best place to eat, drink, shop, party etc. Those kind of rencontre are unvaluable and it has been bloody good 3 days. But time to go seperate way, and I am heading tonigth to Uyuni in South of Bolivia before crossing the border with Argentina.
Hope you all doing good back home...and with a big smile