A Travellerspoint blog

6.23.10: La Paz, Bolivia

On to La Paz

Today we rose to a beautiful view of Lake Titicaca from Isle Del Sol.
I walked outside for a nice big cup of coffee and ran into the Brits from the night before. They were headed back early to Copacabana to watch the England world cup game. We thought we'd tag along too cause we wanted to make the bus down to La Paz that afternoon. We decided to wait til after breakfast to go. I walked into the diner attached to the hostel and waited patiently to be acknowledged. There were four or five employees in the diner who basically refused to acknowledge my presence. I let out a little cough... And then a bigger "ahem". Nothing. Then I approached the woman who waited on us the day before and said, "desayuno?" (breakfast?) "one moment" she snapped back, disgusted that I would even come to speak to her.

This, by the way, has become a pattern in Bolivia. Horrible service is the norm here. The night before at that same hostel the waitresses son sat at the next table playing a hand held video game that "ping!"ed every two seconds. After fifteen minutes of incessant "pings" I thought my head was going to PING! right off my shoulders so I eventually asked him to stop.
Two nights previous we were at the bamboo restaurant in Copacabana and the waiter/manager/owner sat at the table in front of us and watches a world cup game. I watched our food sit in the window for 15 minutes before he finally peeled his eyes away from the game (which happened to be a rerun). Then when it was time to go, I asked for the check and he turned around and watched the game for another five minutes before he would get us our bill. I was shocked. Even though it seems like every place I eat at is ruder than the last I still have a hard time accepting this blatant rudeness.

Anyway, to get back from my tangent, I finally forced myself upon the waitress to order breakfast and sat down to wait for my coffee. I had 45 minutes before my boat left, I still had to walk down to the docks and buy my ticket, but this seemed pretty doable. I sat down, bags loaded around me, and patiently watched the lake water flow as I anticipated my coffee. I waited and waited and about 25 minutes, later still no coffee in sight, I said screw it and left. I made the boat, coffee-less and feigning for caffeine, but I made it!
The boat docked in Copacabana and I made a beeline for coffee and substance. What to eat, what to eat?? The day before I left for the island I found the love of my life standing on the corner- the empanada man! Ever since I tasted one, I had dreamed of more! I hauled ass to his sexy little empanada cart and engorged myself with three heavenly egg, cheese, and potato filled, crispy, crumbly flaky empanadas.

We went back to the English pub, watched the futbol game, sucked down some coffee, read a little bit and killed time before or bus for La Paz.
We had a 3.5 hr bus ride that was advertised as direct, so when I was woken from my empanada coma and hour into the ride, I was perplexed. We stopped in front of a body of water and were instructed to exit the bus but to leave our bags on board. We were goin to be crossing the lake in a boat.. And so was our bus. Apparently we had to get off because our body weight would have capsized the boat. One too many empanadas, I guess.
It was really an odd sight to see, a huge tourist bus floating across a lake on a huge wooden plank.
We boarded he bus again and headed for la Paz.
We had seen a flier for Hotel Continental, which was also advertised as a nice, low-budget hotel in Lonely Planet, so we decided to check it out. Our bus dropped us off in the center of La Paz and it was pure madness all around. Yelling, beeping,bustling madness.


It was overwhelming just walking down the street. Clothes and food vendors overflow the sidewalks and into the streets inundating the roads with people, cars, and fake Fendi purses. The hotel was just a block away from where the bus dropped us off and luckily there was a room available. I set my stuff down and headed out onto the city for some grub. We got a map from the hostel that noted different restaurants on it so we decided to try a steakhouse appropriately called "the steakhouse".
We walked in to survey the place before we committed to our carnivorous desires and upon looking at the tables adorned with a bottle of wine and Jack Daniels on each, we knew it was fate!
A few rounds of drinks and I was really lovin it. The Jack and coke came segregated in their own glasses. Jack Daniel on the rocks in one and coke in the other so you can mix it as you wish. I also got a "Jacky Cool" which was a mix of JD, sprite, and fresh mint; jacks version of a Mohito. Mmmmm. For the main course I decided to go healthy with a modest dish of all you can eat pork ribs. With all the drinks, the ribs, and the tip, the total was $34. I love this country!
By the end of the meal the pork sweats were setting in and I was starting to see double so it was back to the hostel to try to relax... "try" being the operative word. I must have overlooked the fact that our windows were paper thin because I could hear everything going on in the city of La Paz. A combination of people, honking cars, fireworks, and gunshots was the soundtrack I was forced to fall asleep to. It was 3:30 when I finally did fall asleep to the lullaby of gunfire rocking me, ever so gently, to sleep.

Posted by emichele 10:35 Archived in Bolivia

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How did you know it was gunfire? What are pork sweats? Why is the menu in English? Soooo many questions. I love empanadas too and will make them when you return. No package arrived yet. Love you, Mom

by Kriscohn

Hi!! I've been reading your blogs and I love them! I can't even imagine how much fun you're having and how much you're gaining from this experience! I received your postcard :) Thanks, I feel loved! I miss you and can't wait till you guys get back!

by BILLSbills

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