Well day one wrapped up well. I ended up venturing out on my own in the afternoon. Hunger took over before anyone showed up and I figured that it would be resonably safe in daylight with all of my belongings locked in the hotel safe. All I can say is that although Bolivia is extremely beautifull it has to be the most extreme third world experience that I have had to date. If you can get past the crime, smells, and vendors it really is an amazing place. I was truly taken back when I saw some of the huge snow covered peaks of the Andes. I can´t wait until I can upload some pictures.
Here are some random things that I learned about La Paz:
- It is the highest capital in the world
- It has the highest international airport in the world
- It has one of the highest crime rates in the world
- From one end of the city to the other has a 3000 foot elevation difference
- Only three years ago there was a major coupe where the current government overthrew the previous.
Also everything is DIRT cheap in La Paz. We ate at one the nicest restraunts in the area and my total for dinner was $6. Yes that is $6.
On day two the gap crew loaded up on a tour bus at the crack of dawn and made the trek out to the ruins of Tiahuanco. This was definitely the highlight of the Bolivia experience. The ruins were awesome and I had no idea that the pre-Incan civilization was avanced as they were. I am still trying to figure out how they moved 60 ton granite monoliths over 40 miles of mountainous terrain. In fact the scientist are still trying to figure that out as well. I think I am going to agree with my travel guide and come up with my own theory. I believe the aliens helped them move the rocks and build geometrically perfect building over 1500 years ago.
After our hike and exploration through the ruins (this may sound easy but nothing is easy at 11K feet) we had luch at the Tiahuanco Hotel. I decieded to try one of the Bolivian specialties....LLAMA!!! It was actually pretty tasty and was told I had to add it my list of local foods to try. I have also added Alpaca (Peru) to the list as well. It is the domesticated version of the llama and is even supposed to be better. Our guide for this half of the trip is from Peru and is going to take the brave souls in my group to the "Best Guinea Pig" in Cusco when we get there in three days. I can´t wait!
This morning we departed La Paz via bus and made our way around Lake Titicaca. It took all day! This lake is absolutely beautiful and HUGE. We had the pleasure of using a Bolivian fairy to cross on part of the lake. I can´t wait to post the pic. Just imagine the most insane, rickety, and delapadated thing and you won´t even be close.
Tonight we are staying in Puno, Peru. I never thought I would say this but Peru seems light years ahead of Bolivia. I think the tour is going from the poorest to the wealthiest countries. By the time that I get home I will think that I have died and gone to heaven.
Tommorrow we take a three hour boat ride to some islands on Lake Titicaca and we get to spend the night on a floating island made out of reeds. We will be spending the night with local families in their reed houses which I am sure will be an experience...from eating a home cooked meal to using the bathroom. I am sure I will have some stories after this one.
I am having a blast!!!!!