So, the last time I posted it was all about the mine tours in Potosi. Probably a really fitting time to write now, as we've met so many people from Koala Den (the hostel there!) again here!!!
From Potosi Kirbs and I got a cab to the bus station. Apparently it was going to be really easy to get a bus from there and it was going to be really cheap… as soon as we got there we were mobbed by a crowd of locals who were shouting to us in Spanish and we just couldn't hear one from the other. An English speaker cut through, and Kirbs and I ended up getting a 'private car' to Sucre. As per usual there was a misunderstanding where it turned out that the price we were quoted was 'per seat' and not for our trip… So, we ended up piled into the back seat with a local woman who was to say the least easily another half of me wide… The entire journey was spent playing 'corners' with the woman and trying to ensure that Kirbs and I got our portion of the backseat… did I mention that her 8 year old daughter was sitting in the boot of the wagon? That went really well until she got car sick and started to throw up every where… lol Thankfully it wasn't me I guess…
On arriving into Sucre we were stoked to find our hostel owner was the MOST informative person ever who gave us the low down on everywhere to go! The town itself is absolutely gorgeous, and is essentially the social town that sprung up as a result of the mining in Potosi. The markets there were incredible, and had the YUMMIEST fresh fruit and veg so Kirbs and I finally made our own tea! We tried to make quinua (a local dish we had on the Salt Flats tour) which turned out more like clag than what we expected… next time we try we'll be looking up some recipes!!! That night the entire hostel ended up out on the town for one of the girls who was staying there's 30th. First we head to a Shish bar (peach smoke), before heading to a local bar with one of the bar tenders and then on to Joy Ride the local tour centre/bar/café. It was a great night out, but maybe not the best idea getting home at 2am before a full day of horse riding!
The next day Kirbs and I set off on the horse trail, where it turned out as an 'experienced' rider that I was on one of the fastest horses! Hahaha. Needless to say I was freaking out when the horse decided that it was in control and we struggled for control of the harness! We met Anne, Anna and Mira the lovely German girls who helped translate Spanish into English so Kirbs and I had a better idea of what we were seeing and doing! Kirbs got busted when she prentended to understand a long and complicated story in Spanish, but then had to admit to not understanding some simple instructions the guide gave to me that I didn't understand that she was supposed to translate… Lol. It was such a beautiful day and was a gorgeous way to see the town from a different point of view. Both Kirbs and I got sun burnt forgetting about our necks… lol. After the 5 hours of riding we stopped off at a small town and tried a local drink (made from corn and apparently spit???) which we drank hardly any of. We had to try to explain where in the world Australia was (the best we came up with was close to Antartica!) but eventually a map came to our rescue!
From our ride back to town on the local bus, we ran to the markets, grabbed some food and hightailed it to the bus station to get to La Paz! We booked a very swish Cama Suite for the grande price of 145 Bolivianos (a bit under $30) for the 12 hour bus ride. At the bus terminal we ran into Chris and Richard from our hostel in Potosi and had a quick chat about our next stops before jumping on the bus. The seats were the comfiest yet, but of course there had to be a problem… the toilet didn't work… so at 10pm Kirbs and I once again experienced the magic of the 'banos naturales' whilst hoping the bus didn't drive off with our passports, money, clothes… Lol. Luckily we got back on before it left… lol. 3 repeats of Ice Age 3 in Spanish later, Kirbs and I made it to La Paz… at 7am.
La Paz is absolutely insane. There is no other way to explain it. For a start it's built in and around and up a valley, and the view is absolutely amazing. Especially at night, the lights make it look just like a crazy Christmas side show. I honestly can't explain it. Just come and see it for yourself!!! Anything you want you can get here, and the town is like the same sort of busyness as Vietnam! The streets are filled with people and cars, and there's always a bar open, or a stall owner trying to sell you something. With no room until 1:30pm we ran into Damien and Freddy (another few from our hostel in Potosi) where we got some tips for the witches market and how to fill in our first day without a room! Wandering the streets we got back in time for a warm shower, and a chance to begin to enjoy La Paz. We were a bit disappointed with witches market, but were really pumped for the midget wrestling that night!
Before the wrestling I headed off with Liv (from Potosi - seems like every one we met there came here around the same time!!!) to the El Alto Market, a much more local market. Needless to say I ended up back late from the market so Kirbs and I missed the bus to the show… we jumped in a 'minibus' where we argued with the girl who tried to make us pay twice despite the fact we'd already paid 3 times the amount as the locals… Eventually we made it and we sat with Damien, Andrew, Fiona and Alex (yep, you guessed it, from Potosi!) to watch the wrestling that had not one single midget… freezing to death, and the somewhat repetitive wrestling got a bit much, so that by the time the 3.5hrs was up we were all ready to leave! That said though, the show was quite dramatic, and pretty funny with locals and tourists not only involved in the shouting and throwing things at the audience, but with the crowd getting covered in drinks and wrestlers too! Even the referee would get involved when they weren't happy with who was winning! We finally witnessed our first rain in South America, but thankfully it was nothing like the down pours from back home.
Getting back to our hostel Kirbs and I were stoked to order in and catch up with all the Potosi crew. That night we drank at the bar at the hotel, before Kirbs and Damien called it and I headed off with Andrew, Fiona and Alex to Oliver's Travels (a tourist bar) where the music and the dancing were great, and the entire hostel ended up at! Getting home at 8am definitely gave a very different view of La Paz with the streets empty, and devoid of all the usual hustle and bustle… very strange to think 24hrs earlier we'd stumbled into the hostel off the bus! Two hours of sleep later (and some amazing bacon and eggs on toast), Kirbs, Damien and I headed to check out San Pedro prison.
Four words about San Pedro. What-a-let-down. The prison was pink (really not too sure bout that one!) and the tours through the jail are still closed after the expose (including some YouTube footage of inside) meant that the jail, officials and guards are all under investigation for corruption. We sat there for ages trying to see if any tourists tried to get in, but alas it was all official business! We did a lap of the prison whilst hoping to see something slightly more dodgy, but all we got was chilly…
We came back to the hostel to pick up the others before heading off for some Thai for lunch, before Kirbs and I went searching for my alpaca jumper (SO WARM!!!!) then booked into the Amazon Tour for Wed (tomorrow). We then headed up to the Oxygen Bar at the hostel where we sampled some top quality oxygen… Unfortunately as one of the hoses was getting changed the wrong part got connected and I almost ended up swallowing the fragrance, but other than that it was quite relaxing! My jeans have a nice subtle peach scent too now! Lol The oxygen smelled really good, but other than that not too sure about the whole thing to be honest. I was feeling a bit light headed but that could have been the lack of sleep!
After the massive night the night before we opted for card games and what was supposed to be a quiet night in… needless to say that Andrew, Alex and I ended up playing drinking games as Kirbs felt a bit ill and went to bed. From there the hostel once again headed to Oliver's Travels where it turned out that half the bar staff were Australian! So nice to hear the accent and to get some tips on where to go! After another massive night everyone's feeling a bit the worse for wear, with most of the crew from Potosi having left this morning it was great to see Chris and Richard arrive into La Paz so we have some new play mates! That said though, after 2 hours sleep across 51 hours not too sure with how the old body will hold up!
Poor Kirbs is still unwell, and hasn't made it out of bed, so we we've cancelled the Amazon tour we were supposed to be doing tomorrow so that we can make sure she's well before we get into the jungle! We should be able to go from Peru (although more expensive) which will make it all work out in the end. We're playing it a bit by ear atm with Kirbs - not too sure if we're doing another night here or if we'll be moving on to Isla de Sol and Copacobana tomorrow. I am in love with La Paz, in a big portion due to the amazing people we got to hang out with here, so either way it's going to work out well!
Thanks for all the lovely messages from back home, am missing you all terribly, although would prefer you all to come here, than for me to go home!
Still having massive problems with uploading pics for whatever reason so not sure when that's going to happen… maybe if I get bored at one of the airports and can get a good connection!!!