The Journey to La Paz

After a bus from Canberra to Sydney, a flight with a short wait in Fiji, another flight to Los Angeles, eight hours walking around in circles in LAX, another flight to Fort Lauderdale, a 12 hour wait in the low-cost carrier terminal then another flight to Lima, I was well and truly ready to sleep. I had been just over 50 hours in transit without a proper bed or shower.

Gotta love budget travel.

I only stayed in Lima long enough to wash, sleep and book my bus ticket to La Paz, for which I forked out $10 more for a cama seat. Well worth it. The 30 hour journey was a lot more pleasant and comfortable than the last two days of airport terminals and pressurized cabins.

Although largely uneventful, one of my fellow passengers decided to do number two in the toilet which is strictly for urine only. The hostess (luxury buses in South America have hostesses) had warned passengers against doing so on several occasions and absolutely lost it when she discovered the brown, stinky mess.

Throwing all training on customer service aside, she started yelling at us passengers about how disgusting we were and informed us that we now had to travel 30 hours without a toilet. After ranting and raving for several minutes, she told us she hoped we had an uncomfortable journey and stormed off.

Welcome to South America.


Similar to my bus. The bottom floor has the cama (bed) seats. Soruce: CIVA

inca cola Upon arriving at the Bolivian border, I picked up a huge bottle of the delicious Peruvian Inca Kola to give to my suegro (girlfriend’s dad) for a present.

As is often the case in Bolivia, the minivan was full of campesinos (country folk) who smelt terrible because they have little access to running water and are unable to bathe.

Just as I had forgiven the campesinos, we stopped at a mile long traffic jam. Stuck in traffic for at least an hour, I jumped off the van along with other passengers to stretch my legs. Once the road finally cleared up and we set off, I noticed my bottle of Inca Kola was missing.

Several people on the bus had bottles of Inca Kola (it’s often brought back from the Peruvian border as a delicacy) so I was unable to pinpoint the culprit. Upon arriving in La Paz, the sympathetic bus driver helped me look under the seats before declaring that one of the Peruvians must have stolen it.

Many Bolivians consider Peruvians to be thieves so this was a logical conclusion. The incident was a timely reminder that petty theft is rampant around these parts so I must remain alert at all times.

Welcome to Bolivia.


The Peru-Bolivia boarder at Desaguadero

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