- About Nick
- People helping the expedition
- Expenses breakdown
- Truck and equipment (Sept. 16)
Posted on March 4th, 2010 Nicolas 9 comments
As we passed the border and make the migration and custom paperwork, it quickly become clear that Bolivia is a country that still has corruption problem. Not at the point where they will not let you pass if you don’t give money, but you easily get this kind of dialogue:
- Ok senor, everything is OK, and now you can make a contribution
- What do you mean, I don’t understand.
- I don’t have any money.
- Si Senor, contribution.
- So it is corruption?
- No Senor, just contribution for the office, no corruption.
To all of them I say I have no Bolivian money, and no more Peruvian currency either. And they let me through at the end, because it is true, I have no more money, and I need to find a bank quickly.
We cross the first town in Bolivia, Copacabana, a charming place on the southern shore of Lake Titicaca.
Its cathedral is worth seeing. Built in a Moorish style between 1605 and 1820, it is very colorful, and dominates the main plaza of the town.
Copacabana in general is very colorful, and may remind you of a place you would see in Europe. There is a lot of tourist there, as it is the main departure for excursions on the lake.
An hour after, we continued our drive on the shore of the lake, and as the day was ending, we arrived to the town of Tiquina. There, one can catch a raft to cross to the Bolivian mainland. It is a short ride, and it is good, as you can’t help but be worry about the fragile boat where I loaded my truck.
I still didn’t have local currency, and the boat ‘captain’ was a little bit puzzled when at mid-crossing I just handed him six U.S. dollars, but he finally accepted it when I showed him some science on my calculator. An hour after the crossing, we stopped in a village and slept on the soccer field. It was raining all night, but we were able to pull out without problem the following day. At another booth toll, I had to negotiate again to have them accept few dollars and we were on our way to La Paz.
There, the traffic was a nightmare. I had some GPS coordinates of campgrounds, but we figured those were too far from the center, and we opted for a backpacker hotel where for US$17 we would stay two nights.
It is very nice to walk in La Paz, and somehow, the air reminds me of Paris, France. It is very tiring also, as the altitude takes its toll since you have to walk uphill a lot.
I found the markets to be the most attractive sights of the city. There is a witchcraft market, a food markets, an art supply market, a black market, an electronic market and more!
I spent the afternoon with Coen, another traveler who is staying in La Paz for few weeks to rebuild is Land Cruiser (find his website here). We spent time trying to find parts in the numerous specialized stores in the southwest of the city. La Paz was a nice surprise, as you hear from many people or guidebooks that the city is not worth visiting. I found the inverse to be true, and I hope to come back one day to spend more time. Also, Bolivia is dirt cheap, and you can stay there for a while with no big expenses. To fill up the tank of the truck, it did cost me only US$40, while in the U.S., this would have been double this price. That’s right, gas is less than US$2 per gallon. Don’t ask about quality though, since there’s no option, and no one seems to know neither the octane or if gas is leaded or not. Regardless, it did power my truck, and I don’t ask for more at this price.
On Wednesday, we are leaving the city to go southeast to Potosi, and we hear there will be a two-days strike across the nation. Regardless, we decide to go on the road anyway, since nothing – as you will see – can stop the Expedition.
9 Responses to “Sailing to La Paz”
Love following your adventure!
Bill McLandless March 5th, 2010 at 1:44 am
hey Nick! Where is Nadia??? Did she go back with your friend to NY? have you had any problems w/ your equipment??? when do you expect to be in Africa?
Best of Luck Bro!
Jovana March 5th, 2010 at 10:05 am
I just want to say that I very much enjoy reading your entries. I currently live in a small town in North Carolina and everytime I read them I feel as if though I am with you in your adventure.
I pray to God that he will help you in your journey.
Karey Gene March 6th, 2010 at 1:44 am
Great way to keep the corruption contribution down. Liked you wording. Since your in town for only a couple days max I guess It woud’nt make sense to have their money to get around. Wonder If things could be bought at lesser price if so?
I got your website by chance, talking about your arrival in bolivia and I appologise for all the inconveniences made by our police specially by the “ä tip is a must” I f you are passing by santa cruz de la sierra bolivia me and a few mates that loves traveling can help you with tips about traveling around the amazon, please feel free to contact me for watherever you wish to know.\
Hey you guys, it was great to have met you and peanuts for showing you the car parts shops of La Paz. Thanks for the lovely dinner. And you out there are wondering what there is to do in La Paz, should read Karin’s write up: http://bolivia-travel.suite101.com/pages/article.cfm/three-good-reasons-to-travel-to-la-paz-bolivia
p.s. have fun on the salt flats of Uyuni and enjoy the hot thermal baths of Laguna Verde…
Podgorsek Family March 8th, 2010 at 10:01 am
We loved the picture of the lake! We are in Minnesota so our lakes are still frozen over and chilly. I just stared at that picture for a few minutes thinking, “In just a few months we too will have blue skies and rolling waves.”
We hope crime issus don’t become more of a problem for you both, either the sticky fingers of the street or gready paws crossing borders!!
You’re doing a great job of sharing your adventure with all of us. We’re enjoying traveling the road through you two.
Be safe but have FUN!! Dan, Lisa & Bryce
You have tested it and writing form your personal experience or you find some information online?
@ Nemesis: were you adressing that to me? Yes of course all the writing Karin does is firsthand experienced. If you find anyting that doesn´t correspond with your thoughts, please let us know.
Enjoy the world… She is beautiful.