I must backtrack a little bit to Arequipa where I was invited out to lunch by Rachel and Hannah, two English girls who were very sweet and fun and had some seriously ridiculous stories about ending up in a Peruvian prison after a wild night of partying and shortly thereafter waking up to a strange and large Peruvian man taking his boots off in their hotel room. Later that night we actually "went out" in Arequipa with the girls and two other guys from our hostel. We managed to stay out till 2am after dancing the night away (or at least a few hours) at a club filled with an English tour group who had managed to party it up much harder than us. It was a good night.
We headed toward Puno after Arequipa, stopping at the incredible Incan Tombs at Sillustani along the way. Three little girls approached us and offered to charge us money for letting us take a photo of them with their little lamb. We succumbed, and paid 1 Sol (about 33cents). The view was amazing, and we sat around on the rocks appreciating it for a bit.
From the ruins, we headed into Puno where we met up with Woodie, again. His motorcycle was parked right outside our hotel when we came back from dinner. He´d had his own adventures with the roadblocks from Cusco to Puno but luckily hadn´t been riding the bus! He had some Danish friends who´d had to get off their bus in the middle of the night, walk with 60 or so other white tourists through the roadblock pretending to ignore ugly stares from the disgruntled protesters, and after an hour or so (carrying their gigantic packs) they were picked up by a cattle truck that had been rented by the tour company.
We crossed the border into Bolivia pretty smoothly (other than the $135 USD per person to enter, of course) and enjoyed an evening in Copacabana on the edge of Lake Titicaca. As I mentioned before, the colours were spectacular.
Bolivia's population is 96% Indigenous and it´s wonderful to see the women in their colourful, layered skirts and little black caps. The fabric is sometimes neon pinks and bright reds that seem to glow as they tend their flocks and harvest their crops.
The road from Copacabana is smooth pavement, and eventually ends in the lake. Yes, we had to take a boat across, which cost just about $1.50 (10 Bolivianos). That´s our second riverboat crossing of the trip.
La Paz has the cleanest air I´ve ever seen in a large city. It is built into a volcanic crater, apparently by many people feeling very confident in that volcano not erupting again. Ever.
The streets are lined with people selling fruits and vegetables, dried lambs (literally small dried lambs, furry, small, lambs) bright woven fabrics and clothing, millions of potatoes, and one of my favourites, stacks and stacks of beautiful, fresh eggs. The women wear long, vintage-looking aprons to protect their pretty skirts.
We are staying in a little place called Hospedaje Jimenez, which is next door to a great cafe (tasty chicken sandwiches!). The bathrooms don´t seem to get cleaned, and there´s no toilet paper or soap, but we´ve got our own and the beds are rather comfy. I think I may save my showering for our next stop tomorrow. Is that gross? Not anymore.
We had one of our rare Quiet Nights last night, ate silently and got into our separate twin beds to read. Sometimes, it´s just necessary to keep to yourself for a few hours, appreciating your book, giving each other a little space.
This morning we headed out to Nosiglia motors, a motorcycle shop that is renowned for being very helpful to travelers. They helped Adam fix the front Fork Seal, by stretching then cutting the spring to tighten it. We hope that will be the end of the red fork oil spraying out of the shock.
Then we came back to our little street where Adam parked in the shade and started to work again on the electrical problems we´ve been having. He discovered a wire that had broken, and as far as I know he fixed the problem. We´ll see. The fuse keeps blowing, and we´re not sure why. By "we" I am including myself due to my being very supportive and interested, though absolutely clueless.
I think I could probably change a fork seal, now, though.
While Adam was working on the motorcycle, he had some young helpers, including a little girl who was very excited to help clean up the lights with a little orange rag. She came into the internet/tour company (where I was slaving away at our update) to tell her mother "Mama, él dame una tela y yo limpié las lúces! Estoy ayudando!" I absolutely apologize if that is completely mis-spelled. (Basically, "Mom! He gave me a rag and I cleaned the lights! I´m helping!"
Tonight is a huge fiesta at the ruins about an hour west of here that consists of freezing temperatures, lots of booze, and all night live music and fireworks. They don´t suggest that you get a hotel, but just take a nap in the bus if you need to. I think we´re gonna miss out on this party. Instead we´re going to have some dinner and try and figure out our exciting Bolivian jungle trip. It will most likely include pink freshwater dolphins, piranhas (hopefully not at the same time), searching for anacondas, and staying in a lodge. We´ll be taking a nature hike, and trying to spot exotic things hiding in the foliage. Sounds fun, huh?
Grace and Adam