Today, completed 7th month of our travel. We are on the bus going towards Brazil. Iza is giving me a test on all the places we visited till today. It’s a test we give each other every month to practice our memory and laugh. It’s my turn to name all the places we visited, I suck at this.
I can’t believe it’s already 7 months, just few days ago was 6 months, time is really speeding up for us. The first two months dragged on and now it feels like we are turbo jetting.
Since we are flying, here are some things and places that flew by this last month:
• Lima, Peru is actually a nice place, unlike we heard from other travelers that it sucks. We though it was a cool city, with super pleasant people. Mainly used Lima as a hub to connect to other places. End up shopping quite a bit there and updated some of our gear.
• Cuzco, Peru, you can read the previous post, it was quite a party time for us. Met some really cool people, party with them and felt a bit at home. The Point hostel in Cuzco was one of my favorite hostels, it had everything we needed. We watch some movies on the bean bags, played pool and just enjoyed the café where they had the entire wall made out of redbull. It was quite expansive there so we stayed in a cheaper hostel and acted like we owe The Point.
• Arequipa, Peru. We decided to take a detour here since everybody told us it’s an amazing city with white buildings. It might be a nice city, but not all that. I would compare it to Puebla, Mexico. It did have some of the best ice cream we yet had in all if our travel. Artika is the place to visit for ice cream if you ever make it there. So delicious, I want some right now. We also had really good Ceviche in one of the restaurants near the main plaza. I would say, food! Food is the reason to visit Arequipa. + pleasant people.
• Drive from Arequipa to Puno. Best scenery I have seen. Ok maybe not the best but very close, it’s up there. We got super lucky and had the top panoramic view seats on the bus, where we just sat with wide opened eyes. Desert feel, emptiness with mountains, lakes and desert villages, no trees just orange yellowish colors. Stunning!
• Puno, Peru. Lol, I have to laugh when I think of this place. Initially we never thought of stopping here, but after passing through it, we had to get off the bus and stay at least 2 nights. I thought it was way cooler and more charming then Arequipa. While here, Iza and I had a girls night out where we completely got shit faced without planning it. “Lets buy a bottle of wine.” we decided as we sat in a café to pass time while it rained at 5pm. One bottle of wine turned into two bottles, and ended in another bar with a Cuba Libre. We managed to tell each other some deep stories and left the bar completely waisted. Iza couldn’t move her legs, for the first time I had to drag her to the hostel, which was not easy as I myself was trashed and our hostel was located on the steepest hill in town. Once we made it we fell asleep and woke up at 10pm with a hangover, completely disoriented and surprise that it was only 10pm. Next morning Iza’s hangover was so bad that she passed on the visit to the Uros Islands. I went, it was quite commercialized for the tourists but the views were sweeter then sweet.
• Copacabana, Bolivia. Driving from Puno to Copacabana was a total shocker, as we once again had the pleasure to sit in front of the bus to view the natural scene. This time was quite different, we viewed our driver and his pilot getting drunk. “ohhh these Bolivians, you guys have to be be careful when you go there, the bus drivers in Bolivia like to drink. The government tried to stop it, and it resulted in a strike, where the bus drivers refused to work, so now they drink and drive” said an older man that we met while crossing the border into Costa Rica a while ago. His words was going through my head, as the drivers sipped on a 97% alcohol mixed with a green soda. Pretty quickly it became obvious to the entire bus filled with tourists that they are drinking. Panic mode set in, one girl just lost it and was freaking out, crying and couldn’t compose herself. Shortly the pilot was completely drunk and fell asleep as the driver drove slowly, I though he was a good driver and got us where we needed to go safely minus the drinking. At the border crossing everybody complained to the agency representative and another guy end up driving the rest of the 30 minuts to Copacabana.
• Copacabana Bolivia, while siting in the Mirador Hotel eating breakfast a group of 12 Polish folks walked in to join the buffet. It was a nice surprise as we don’t come across many Polish people in our travel. They were on a fast mode, traveling from Lima Peru to Santiago, Chile. Their itinerary was the same as ours for the day, visiting Isla del Sol, where Inkas believe the sun was born. Jarek, their Polish guide insisted that we come along with them. Why not?! We soon learned that these guys were all very well educated, professors and doctors mainly from Krakow. As we trekked on the Isla del Sol, we had plenty of time to get to know them, Jarek was interested in our travels, and I was interested in his job as a guide. He takes a group on a journey through South America and shows them around. How cool is that?! You travel and work. I think I need to look into it a bit more. Maybe a career change for me? Long story short, we end up traveling with them to La Paz, stayed in the same hotel as them, drank their Zubrowka and party till the sun came out… Their time frame was shorter then ours so unfortunately we only stayed with them one more day to visit the Chacaltaya (5,400 meters height) where climbing it on a hangover was impossible. In the afternoon we checked out the Valley of the Moon, freaky, cool rock formations that were once underwater, and we ended the day with buffet dinner and said goodbye to our Polish expedition. I tell ya! Polish people know how to party. I had a great time! Jarek you rock.
• After the Polish satisfaction, we moved to a different hostel. The Point Hostel in La Paz was nothing like the one in Cuzco, the people and the vibe was just different, much younger. We end up staying in La Paz for a week waiting for a package with 8 croissants, one pecan pie and other goodies to arrive from Brooke, who Iza worked for. Brooke insisted that we meet Juan, a good friend of hers who is a lawyer and lives in La Paz. She wasn’t kidding, he was awesome! Showed us the other part of La Paz. The South, where all the rich Bolivians live. They have an English, German and French schools, he went to the English and French. His English is perfecto. While in La Paz, he took us for some good Sushi, first time since we left got a chance to eat some sashimi!! Yumy in the tummy. We also drove for 5 hrs on ATVs all around the Moon Valley. That was just fucking amazing!! The sun was shinning and the views were impressive. Of course the main attraction for us in La Paz was the Death Road. (more about the in a different post)
• The overnight ride to Uyuni was one of the most challenging ones, didn’t sleep at all. Most of the roads in Bolivia are unpaved. Paved roads are only in big cities and between few cities. The road to Uyuni was unpaved, which meant, vigorous shacking and intense dust creeping in through old bus holes. I think I had like 5 orgasms, and came out of there with gray hair.
• My favorite place in Bolivia is around Uyuni, the Solar flats. A place I feel everybody should see!!
• Potosi, Bolivia. The highest city in the world (4,060 m), once the wealthiest city in Latin America where the roads were paved with silver. Known for silver and mineral mines. We visited a working mine, never seen anything like it, people are still working medieval times without any protection. Chewing coca leaves which helps them with low oxygen and hunger. When they smile green leaves stick out. They worship their Devil known as Tio (uncle), who they give alcohol, cigarettes and coca leaves. Depending on their environment some are exposed to toxic chemicals often die from silicosis pneumonia within 10 years of entering the mines. Again their work is done by hand with basic tools, where temperatures range from 0C to 45C. Our tour included walking through thigh pathways, and 9 larders down where the temperatures increased drastically.
• Heading towards Brazil we stopped over in Sucre, Bolivia, where we did our laundry, sat on the Internet for 5 hrs and did necessary shopping before getting to Brazil. Bolivia is the cheapest country in South America.
• Some things we observed in Bolivia:
-All shops are in one place, for example if you need bread there are 10 bakery’s in one place, there are 10 flower shops in one place, and that goes for all the shops in Bolivia. I really wonder how they make money.
-The original Lambada song was stolen from Bolivia by the Brazilians. A random guy informed us in the park.
-everybody is addicted to coca leaves
-you need to always walk around with toilet paper, the bathroom situation is terrible and they never have hot water
-food is really good, especially Saltenas. Thanks Carolina!
-it’s South Americas most indigenous country with over 60% of the population claim their indigenous
-strikes, protest demonstration and marches are part of the Bolivian landscape
-It’s famous for world highest everything. Highest capital, city, major lake (Titicaca)
-it’s earth’s coldest, warmest, windiest and steamiest place
-it has everything except the beaches, but that’s because they lost it in the war with Chile.
Next update will be from Argentina 🙂