Travel Journal

animal attacks, gay pride and more hypothermia......

(Saturday 3 July 2010) by Katie and Tina on the Run!
Well, if it´s possible, the flight back to La Paz was even more terrifying than we imagined it could be.
Not sure if it was the fault of the pilot, or the wind...or maybe the fact that the plane was almost small enough to fit in your pocket...but it was a silent 45 minutes where we all prayed for our lives.
then the landing was virtually perfect.
go figure.

Once in La Paz we checked into Adventure Brew hostal which was more our style than anywhere we´ve stayed. A lot of great people hanging out playing cards and drinking the beer the hostel makes in their very own microbrewery!

Before partaking in a cervesa, it was time for me to brave the hair salon. Getting a haircut has always been a nervewracking experience, but now than i am an official hairstylist about to get my locks chopped on was downright terrifying! I picked the most expensive salon in La Paz where a haircut costs $12 (my haircuts in school were almost twice that...yikes!) I thought i was prepared to stop her if anything seemed like it was going badly, but i was immediately too shocked by her complete lack of skill to say anything! Though Tina has made fun of me a little, it could definitely have gone worse, I am learning what i´m sure some of my first clients will have to learn, that hair grows. And the good news is that I don´t have to go to a job interview for at least six weeks!

We ate at our beloved thai restaurant again, which wasn´t quite as spectacular this time but we have a feeling that might be because the meals we had preceeding it were not quite as bad as the time before.
We decided after all the hammock lounging we did in the jungle, we would walk the long way back to our hostel. The restaurant and the hostel are on the Prada (the main road) and it was a saturday night so things were hopping. We´d been walking about ten minutes when we heard some music and obvious partying coming from up ahead, so we rushed to see what the extravaganza was about. We didn´t immediately catch on, mostly, i think, because it was so shocking to see, but pretty soon the rainbow flags everyone was waving, along with the scantily clad men dressed as women clued us in pretty quick...We had accidentally stumbled into La Paz´s Gay Pride Parade!! Somehow the was we had gone stuck in litterally right into the middle of it, behind the drag queens, in front of the sequined cadillac blaring ¨"It´s raining men" after a serious bout of laughter and a quick agreement between us, we decided to stay as part of the parade! We marched right along everyone in their costumes, waving and blowing kisses to the huge HUGE crowd of people along the whole parade route. We held hands and danced and even had our picture taken by some of the newspaper photographers. We´re not sure if we made the paper, we sure hope so..the only two gringos to ever march in a Bolivian Pride Parade! For being such a conservative and homophobic country, there was more of a turnout from supportive allies than i´ve ever seen at a Pride back home. We ended the parade laughing hard and feeling a little better about the world and the place we have in it.

The next day we decided to head out to a town three hours outside La Paz called Coroico. We took a minivan (which they call miniban, hilarious!) to get there and the driver drove so fast over scary curvy mountain roads we felt certain we were either going to vomit or die. Fortunately, we did neither. It has a similair feeling as copacabana, lots of color and vibrance, except that Coroico is litterally built onto the side of a mountain! The view from anywhere in the town is spectacular and we were immediately glad we came....though our feelings on that may have changed.....

We´d been toying with the idea of doing some volunteering at one of the two big animal refuges in Bolivia and the one outside of Coroico is also a hotel of sorts so we thought we´d go spend a night there and find out some details. Set at the bottom of the mountain with a river running through it is a stunning place to do such wonderful work as rescue animas from the black market in Bolivia. They have a large Andean Bear, a python, a couple big cats, loads of colorful birds, and monkey after monkey after monkey. Like any other sucker gringo, we were mostly interested in the monkeys! We were a little nervous around them and our first encounter ended with one of them trying to look up tina´s shorts and then freaking out at me so we huddled back to our cottage, determined to be more successsful the next day.
Oh how we (i) should have known.
The next morning we were following around one of the volunteers, listening to what she had to say about all the different monkeys and she introduced up to her favorite, Nikita, a little squirrel monkey and she was so friendly she ran right onto my shoulder. I was so delighted, I couldn´t let it just stop at that. I sat next to a volunteer who was watching two of them play when they came over to me and were being all cute until only god knows what snapped and suddenly they were attacking me and trying to bite me all over the place before they trapped me in a corner. I thought for sure I was monkey toast, but the volunteer got a hold of their leashes long enough for me to escape with only three bites.
Tina says I will just never learn!

more than a little shaken, we decided it was time to make a quick leave. So we packed our bags and then played the game of waiting for a taxi to happen to be driving by this nothing town, to take us back up to Coroico.

Checked into a lovely little hotel where (gasp!) finally! We were brave enough to ask, and actually receive a room with only one bed!! Other than one time in Rurrenabaque, where the little guy told us we could just push the two twins together, we have been unlucky in either being brave enough to ask, or having the folks in reception stop looking at us funny long enough to actually get a hotel room like any other normal couple where we dont feel like we´re at camp! It´s been a real breakthrough. Lookout Bolivia, we´re here. we´re queer. and we sleep in one bed.

The next day we had planned to do a big hike to some natural swimming pools, but I wasn´t feeling great, so we just did more of a walk down the mountain and back up. The views rivaled some of what we saw in the Andes, the only downside being the extreme amount of sandflies that ate us to bits. We are itchy itchy itchy.

We took the miniban (ha!) back to La Paz and continued with our plan to take a night bus to Cochabamba.
Why oh why do we never listen to ourselves. One who has been following along through all our adventures, might recall a while back when we typed the words, never. Ever. Get on a night buswithout your sleeping bag. I have no idea what posessed us to think this time would be an exception, but it was an eight hour ride where there were truly moments i thought we might freeze to death. We didn´t talk the entire ride and Tina just looked like a crazy person because she spent the whole thing rocking back and forth like a mental patient. We were the only people on the entire bus not covered in blankets and we were awake the whole night.
Never again.
Seriously this time.

I was feeling like death run over twice by the time we got to Cochabamba so we checked into a hotel quick and fell into bed. But Tina was awoken By the extreme heat radiating from my body and when she checked my temperature it was at 104! (she lied to me so i wouldn´t freak out as bad and said it was 103) she made me jump in an ice shower and then made me put on all my clothes and my coat and climb in my sleeping bag and she put all the blankets on top of me and said i had to sweat it out. Then she poked me with a needle (can you believe I let her poke me with a needle?!) to test if I have maleria with our maleria test kit Tina´s wonderful dad provided us with. I don´t have maleria. good news. My fever broke because of nurse Tina´s good thinking. also good news. But I did go to the hosital and after an awkward and frustrating time with language barriers and explaining to them that I don´t have typhoid fever, we discovered I have a parasite. yuck.
But thankfully treatable, so now I am on some serious antibiotics to kill the little suckers. we´ve named then Lucifer and Julio. We wish them dead.

So just for a litle the last week...
Swarmed by wasps. check.
Attacked by monkeys. check.
Caught parasites doing gymnastics in my belly. check check.

I think Bolivia is winning the war.

Now we´re just laying low and watching a lot of TV in our hotel room until we can find a volunteer job to do .

Cross your fingers the next update is less painful!

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  • OH MY!!!! by Aunt ARE you Done Yet?
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  • Yuk! by aunt trice

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