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South America: Bolivia

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Daily Itineraries:

12.30.04 - Arrived early in the morning in Puno to realize that Rachel's camera had been stolen during the night. We did our best to look for it, but it was already gone. Because of the rain and circumstances, we decided to push on to Copacabana, Bolivia. We passed smoothly through the border and arrived in town late morning, found a hostel, ate a trout lunch, and spent some time exploring the church, markets, and aroundthe town. We split up for the afternoon and went up the Cerro Calvario to watch the sunset. We returned to our hostel, cooked a pasta stir-fry dinner, and called it a night.

12.31.04 - We slept in, bought food and kerosine for our island excursion, ate lunch at a restaurant, and ended up just missing out boat to the Isla del Sol which ended up leaving a little early. We caught the next boat and arrived at the island around 4, hiked north to find a campsite for the night. We cooked our own dinner and crammed into the tent. We stayed up celebrating the New Year, talking, and listening to the fireworks going on all around us. Dave had a high fever during the night and didn't sleep too well. In the middle of the night, we saw some lightning close to us and decended the hill a bit until it passed. We fell back asleep exhausted for the rest of the night.

1.1.05 - Got up and packed up camp before the rain came. Decided that we needed to get a hostel for the next night, walked into town of Yumani and found a nice one for good price. Dave took a nap because he wasn't feeling well, Eric and Rachel spent the afternoon walking up to northern point of island to Palacio del Inca and Titicaca Rock. Enjoyed great views and got sunburnt. For dinner, found a nice restaurant on top of the hill. Came back to hostal exhausted and excited about a long night of sleep.

1.2.05 - Left hostal and walked down to docks for the morning departure for Copacabana. Ate lunch there, looked for a bus to La Paz, eventually settled for a combi that took us halfway there. At San Pablo de Tiquina, crossed part of the lake on a boat and got another combi for La Paz. Arrived in La Paz late afternoon and walked to center part of town to find a hostal. Went out looking for good restaurant, realized that it was Sun. and everything was closed. Found shady Chinese place, but still felt hungry and so we bought a large $3 cake, which we ate most of before going to bed.

1.3.05 - Spent the day exploring La Paz. Visited the cathedral, several markets (including the Witch's Market, which sells dried llama fetuses), and also spent some time at the Cocoa Museum. Ate lunch at a whole-in-the-wall Lebanese restaurant, where we ordered a combination plate of delicious Arabic food. Afterwards we did our shopping - Dave and Rachel buying instruments and Eric a big Ilpaca blanket. Hung out at main plaza for awhile, then returned to hostal and said goobye to Rachel. Walked to bus station and bought last-minute tickets to Santa Cruz. Overnight on a nice bus-cama.

1.4.05 - Stopped for breakfast around 630am, and a few minutes down the road we hit a roadblock. Taxis and trucks parked all over the road, protesting high gasoline prices. Nobody got through until around 8pm. We spent the day wandering around, hanging out at a restaurant, and meeting some fellow travelers. Very long, frustrating day. Finally arrived in Santa Cruz around midnight and took a taxi to MCC compound, where we spent the night.

1.5.04 - Slept in and met a few of the MCCers in the morning. Said goodbye to Rachel (again), and Denver Steiner came over around mid-morning. We went out for a breakfast of saltenas, and then he took us over to the Stansberry Children's Home, where his family served for several years. Spent the day using the computers there, getting a tour, and meeting some of the staff. In the evening, we went to a friend of their family's for dinner and had an incredible meal. Returned back to MCC, watched a movie at the Yoder's place, and stayed up late talking.

1.6.04 - Got up mid-morning and went over to the Yoders for breakfast. Walked downtown with Kiara to do a bit of shopping/sightseeing and visit the MCC program PRONATS. Returned back to MCC in the afternoon and Eric took a nap because he wasn't feeilng good. Hung out with the Yoders and got some internet work done. For dinner, we walked around and finally found a nice Chinese restaurant...large portions but fairly expensive. Returned to Yoders, decided Eric has worms, said goodbye to Denver and Kiara, and went to bed.

1.7.05 - Slept in late. After taking some medication, Eric was feeling slightly better. Walked down to train/bus station and bought tickets for overnight bus to Yacuiba, on the Argentina border. Stopped for saltenas on the way back, relaxed in the afternoon and worked on internet stuff, including buying tickets to Middle East. Said goodbye to Yoders and went to bus station. Bus finally showed up an hour late, and we headed south.

1.8.05 - A long night on the bus. Crying children, bumpy roads, and very little sleep. Eric felt sick most of the trip. Arrived in Yacuiba early AM and waited in oppressive heat for six hours at Argentine immigration. Eventually got through and bought last remaining tickets for Tucuman, the furthest south we could get. Rest of the day spent on bus, stopping at several checkpoints and most towns en route.

 

David P. Landis & Eric S. Kennel

April 4, 2005