Travel Journal

fridgid, brisk and frozen....

(Thursday 15 July 2010) by Katie and Tina on the Run!
After zero luck hooking up with a organization to volunteer with, we have decided that we are just meant to be selfish people on this trip!
Haha, just kidding, we are still hoping to find something further down the road, but it was time to leave Cochabamba...

Our final day there we reluctantly said goodbye to the holtel room we had started calling home, as well as the ex-pat friends we^d made at the coffee shop they own where we had eaten breakfast everyday for the last week! Also where Tina learned the valuable lesson that cafe con leche is a lot of milk with a little coffee, and what she really wants is a cortada, coffee with a little milk.
Oh how she has suffered over these last seven weeks!

We decided we couldn{t really say we had been to Cochabamba unless we hiked up to the giant Jesus. It is, in fact, the biggest in the world. Contrary to popular beliefe, this one is a whopping thee centimeters than the big guy in Rio!
We climbed stairs for an hour and a half (katie still being somewhat under the weather, this timing was mostly her fault) until finally we were in the presence of greatness. Litterally.
He was an incredible sight and we feel quite accomplished at having now seen two of the three largest Jesus statues in the world!

Caught a bus to Oruro (we were smart this time and prepared well) a mere five hours and we were in the town, realizing that we had failed to make a hotel reservation and hotels in this city were few and far between! After an hour or so of middle of the night wandering, we finally found one and checked in at 3am! a short night of sleep and it was up for a day we would be glad to forget. Oruro is a freezing cold town with zero food for vegetarians and we did little more all day than wander and listen to Tina{s depressed moans! (tina finds it a complete unjust that there are no hot cocoa stands to be found anywhere in Bolivia, if someone wanted to make some money in an undiscoveret nitche, she may really be onto something...)

Around three we decided we should figure out the train situation for leaving, as it has never before been a problem to book transportation last minute, we saw no reason this would be any different...
oh how wrong we were...

At the train statin we discovered that the train only leaves a ciouple times a week.
luckily today was one of those days.
unluckily, it was the less quality of the two trains running.
more unlickily...the top two classes of train car were sold out, so we were stuck with the popular class.
we were optimistic all afternoon...then we boarded the train....

CATTLE CAR would be a nice thing to say about this train.
seriously.
there were at least fifty people crammed onto the wooden benches of the freezing cold car, along with their cats, and we have a feeling chickens. the smell of people was overwhelming and we couldn{t stop laughing.
this would happen to us!
we decided to chock it up to a real Bolivian experience...but not before we jumped off real quick and bought a hobo flask of whiskey from a man at a stand outside.
we firmly believe that hooch is all that got us through that horrible eight hour journey!

Arrived in Uyuni at 2am with it being every bit as freezing as the guidebooks had promised. found a hotel quickly and climbed into sleeping bags, clothes and all.

The next day it was time to book our three day trip into the salt flats (the only reason anyone would ever, ever go t this frozen hideous dusty awful town, it{s like the Bolivian Northern Exposure ) you hear a lot of horror stories about companies for this tour being awful (drunken guides, not enough food for everyone) but after some recommendations from other travellers, we were feeling confident in our chuoice of Estrella Del Sur company.
We were supposed to leave the next day but in the morning Tina woke up with a terrible intestine ache from backed-up plumbing issues (two months of eating wheat has not done her well!) so I had to go argue with the agency to let us change days. He was unkind, but I stood strong and we had the day to lay low.

We were oh so excited for our adventures, and to meet the folks we{d be spending three days in a jeep with.....

 


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