Travel Journal

plane crashes, mystery waterfalls and "springlike temperatures"....

(Thursday 29 July 2010) by Katie and Tina on the Run!
it has been a loooong time since we last posted, because we needed some time for our fingers to thaw out from the ferocious arctic-land we were quite litterally trapped in.
We are now safely in some relative warmpth and ready to describe in detail the horror story it took us to get here!

Once we arrived in Tupiza, we checked into our favorite hotel of the whole trip so far. Las Torres. It felt like we were in a real old school wild west saloon. Like Tina should be a cowboy with a gun holster and i should have been a bar wench with excessive cleavage.
Enough said. it was awesome.

Our first night there we ate the meal that would become our staple for all of our nights there (it´s not so much that we´re creatures of habit, as once we find something in a bolivian town we donñt despise eating, we absolutely must eat it and only it for the rest of our time there!) Never again in our lives will we eat so many omlettes.

The next day we headed out on a hike in our guidebook with some directions given to us by the lady at our hotel. Like most hikes we go on....we were unable to find the trail, so we wandered around the wild west for a few hours, passed a landfill (the first i´ve ever seen) and never found the waterfalls we were hunting for.

Ate omlettes.

enjoyed some quality HBO (pronounced in spanish as "acha bay oh", said about a million times a night because we think it is positively magnificient) until we passed out at an hour much to early to be cool.

the next day we decided to try again at the waterfalls, and we hit the trail from a different direction hoping for better results.
the results were exactly the same (aka no waterfalls) but we did find a small pig farm that was quite fascinating (and immersed in garbage) as well as some wild puppies that were about the cutest thing we´ve ever seen.
Took a mystery route home and spent the hour trying to imagine how Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid felt galloping through the same thing....

We had decided we had our fill of the tumbleweeds and dirt and we were ready for some warmer weather, so it was time to move on.
We had plans of heading north to Potosi, but when we went to the bus station we were remiss to find out that there was political rioting going on and the roads to Potosi were blocked.
maybe forever.

our only options for getting out of Tupiza were to either head back to Uyuni, or go south to Tarija.
Since there was no way in hell we were going back to that ice box, tarija (being the heart of Bolivian wine country, as well as, according to our guidebook, "springlike" in temperature..) was the best of all evils.
Or so we thought....

it was an eight hour overnight bus to Tarija where we held our breath and said all the prayers we know over and over again because from the back of the bus we certainly couldn´t see through the fog, so we can´t imagine the driver was able to either. Through curvy dropoff mountain roads we sped and by grace of all gods we made it to Tarija at an oh so welcoming 5am.

I don´t know where the person who wrote our guidebook is from, but if below freezing temperatures are "springlike" to them, then we feel awful sorry for their life.
We checked into a hotel where the mattress was rocklike and were awoken only hours later by the hotel´s gang of screaming children, so we quickly marched out and told the owner that we would not be staying there, and we would not be paying for those hours either.
surprisingly, it worked.

we found another overpriced hotel, though three stars, still lacking in heat, and we set out to pretty much the only place we put foot in in the whole city (also the only place in the entire city with heat). In two days we ate there six times and probably killed about 12 hours just sitting there and marvelling at the horrible horrible temperatures outside.
We later learned that all of Bolivia is in some weird cold streak, and we just so happened to get the brunt of it. oh joy. oh bolivia.

after much difficulty (the airline office in town being closed, the internet being to slow to book a ticket online, the entire airport being shut down...) we finally managed to get some seats on the next flight out of there. We wanted to head to Sucre, but we had to go through Santa Cruz to get there..backtracking in the long run, but well worth it to leave the arctic.

our flight was scheduled to leave at 8pm, so were were at the airport (also not heated) too early (in bolivia apparently you need only arrive twenty minutes before your plane is supoosed to leave. seriously) when it was after the time we were supoosed to leave, we decided to ask some questions. Apparently the cold front was settled directly over the airport and they were waiting to see if we would take off. All three of the other airlines cancelled their flights for the night, but lo and behold...Aerosur Airlines really pulled through for us...
...and they pulled through with absolutely the most terrifying flight we have ever been on!
Seriously, whatever we said about the little plane to Rurrenabaque can be disregarded as this was the most mortifying flying experience we will ever go through. We were litterally flying out of our seats while the lights were flickering and all the old bolivians around us were doing some serious genuflecting. Katie held hands with the guy next to her while she cried. Tina did a great job pretending not to cry for katie´s sake.
It was awful.
We were oh so glad for the ground of Santa Cruz.

We then spent ten hours sleeping in the airport while we waited for our next flight. Surprisingly the chairs at the airport were more comfortable than many of our Bolivian hotel beds.
Oh Bolivia.

Finally took the quick flight to Sucre and were quickly glad we had come, as all the wonderful things we had heard about the city were immediately true. It is a beautiful place with wonderful weather (as well as wonderful food...if you eat meat...alas..) But we greatly enjoyed wandering the streets (much like Cusco) and hiking up to the Mirador with it amazing cafe and eating delicious organic salads while we took in the fantastic view. Life is good.

We decided to take a few spanish lessons as we had heard a lot about a school here, so we spent four hours learning all the things we´ve been saying wrong for the last three months, and had a good laugh at ourselves!

Sucre is also the chocolate capitol of South America, so most of our time there was spent being gluttenous. Lots of truffles and cake and ice cream....oh how we are not looking forward to giving up ice cream again once we go home..... ;-)

We had a flight booked back to Santa Cruz, thankfully that flight was much more smooth, and we immediately got there and checked into an amazing hotel with the cutest toucan for a pet! We named him sam.....we have no idea what his name actually is....but he must like fruit loops, right?!
We wandered around and got lost in Santa CRuz a whole lot, ate all you can eat sushi for seven dollars. amazing. Saw a movie at the Cinecenter, which almost made us feel like we were at home (you know, if you can ignore the spanish subtitles at the bottom of the screen!) and admired the fancy folks of Bolivia.
But we quickly remembered why we like the small town best, as cities are cities, no matter what part of the world you´re we´re headed to a little village called Samaipata, thee hours away from Santa Cruz, it´s right where the Andes mountains and the Amazon Rainforest collide and we have a feeling it might be the most beautiful place of our whole trip..what a way to end....

  • Oh how nice it is to travel and thepilots are so good! by pa & gramma
    • Katie and Tina by Marilyn Ellis
  • heart to heart by Constance
  • Aunt "I LOVE ICECREAM!" by Aunt Kathleen

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