La Paz, Bolivia, South America
I didn’t exactly sleep in this morning, I was up around 7am, but it was nice to just have a relaxed morning and enjoy my breakfast. I checked out at 10:30am and met up with Gino and we went for a walk in the town. It’s really small, and there isn’t much to see, but we checked out the main cathedral, and then went to a Pan American bakery run by a couple from Chicago. The food there wasn’t actually very nice, but they were really nice people and we had a bit of a chat with them for a while.
We headed back to the hostel for a bit before we had to go into town to catch our bus. There was certainly no problem finding the place to board the bus, because this town is so small, and our bus actually hit the road about five minutes early. That never happens in South America. Our bus was also about half full, so we each got two seats to ourselves and it made for a pretty comfortable ride. The only strange part came when we had to cross the Lake at one point, so we all had to get off the bus, pay one Boliviano to get a water taxi across the lake, and then wait for our bus to come across on a big floating platform. I guess they don’t have the money or resources to build a bridge, so this is the idea they came up with. It was only about a ten minute wait, so it was no big deal, and then we continued on our way to La Paz.
We got into the big city at about 5pm and it was pretty clear from the drive in that this is not a very nice city. It’s big and dirty and it doesn’t look like there are many nice things to see here. Gino’s hostel is right near the bus station, so we walked down there and I waited while he checked in, and then we walked another ten minutes to my hostel. This is not a nice area to walk it. It started haling and raining on the way to my hostel, so that didn’t help make a good impression on the place, but I don’t know that it would have been much nicer in the glorious sunshine.
I checked into Hostal Copacabana and it seems decent. Nothing special, but for $13 a night for my own room and a hot shower, it will do the trick. I dropped off my stuff and we went for a walk to find the two most reputable agencies that run the Death Road tour. We want to check out the city tomorrow (if there’s anything to check out), and then do the Death Road on Friday. We got some information from Gravity and from Barracuda, and we can have a think about it tonight and decide tomorrow.
We stumbled across a restaurant called Steak House and we figured that while we’re staying in such a crappy city, we might as well have a good meal. It reminded me exactly of an American steak house, and we both had some pretty awesome burgers. I had a Tex Mex burger with fries and a salad bar, and two drinks, for less than $10. Well worth it for a meal that good.
After dinner I came back to the hostel and Gino headed back to his. We’re going to meet at my hostel in the morning to go book our Death Road trip and then go on a free walking tour of the city. Let’s see if they can make this crappy looking city seem impressive at all…