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, 8 hours walking around, sitting, eating and sleeping 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.  It had been just over 50 hours in transit without a proper bed or shower.

I only stayed in Lima long enough to shower, sleep and book my bus ticket to La Paz.  I paid an extra $10 for cama (bed) class seat.  Well worth it.  The 30 hour journey was a lot more pleasant and comfortable than the last two days of airport terminals and pressurised cabins.  The journey was fairly uneventful until one of passengers did a number 2 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.  She started yelling at us passengers about how disgusting we are and informed us that we now have to travel 30 hours without a toilet.  She told us she hoped we have an uncomfortable journey and stormed off.


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

inca cola Upon arriving at the Bolivian border I had to cross through immigration and catch a different minivan to La Paz.  I picked up a huge bottle of the delicious Inca Kola, a piss coloured bubble gum flavoured soft drink, 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.  They smell so bad because they don’t have access to running water so they are rarely able to shower or wash their clothes.  Just as I had forgiven the campesinos we stopped at a mile long traffic jam.  Roadblocks are a common form of protest in Bolivia but fortunately the driver advised us this was probably due to an accident which meant we would get home tonight.  We were stuck in traffic for at least an hour, so I left the van along with other passengers to stretch my legs and take a piss.  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 it was a logical conclusion.  The incident was a timely reminder that petty theft is rampant around these parts and I must remain alert at all times.


The Peru-Bolivia boarder at Desaguadero

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