Sunday, December 10, 2006

This is the life..

New room is beautiful. I have a double and single bed, plants in the corners of the room, artwork hanging around the walls, gardens out of both my large windows and a lovely view of the lake and town down below. $14 per night.

I'll have to change rooms though, can't afford £7 a night fanciness! Bring out the tent!

Good frothy cappuccino this morning at Cafe Bistro after a rather mediocre breakfast at Hotel Utama.

More than one third froth! Good work!

A bit of faffing about moving hostels and rooms etc, then I set off at 1pm on a walk, planning to walk to Yampupata village, at the end of the peninsula here, 19km away, where one can take a boat across to the Isle del Sol. My plan was to then hire a row boat (with rower) to take me out into the lake, where somehow I would pick up the main boats coming back to Copacabana from the island. Sounded crazy, but I was up for it. Only issue was last boat back leaving Isle del Sol at 4pm. I would have to be quick, as estimates for the walk vary from 3.5 to 5 hours. I had 3.

The Litmus test is.. would you wear it at home? Deffo! Let's buy!

Unfortunately the late start meant I would never have made it. The situation was worsened by me taking a wrong turn on the path, leading to a long and hairy diversion. Let me explain my failings: Most of the route is along a dirt track road, but at one point, the walking trail leaves this, in a forest, and goes past a small grotto with a statue of Jesus. One is then supposed to ascend steeply, and rejoin the road at some point later. So, I duly follow the instructions, get to the grotto, where the path quite literally disappears. Nada. So I have a choice - left or right. Map no help whatsoever. I take what looks like the marginally more worn route left. A long time later, I realise this must have been wrong!

The view back to the rock I climbed yesterday, and Copacabana in the distance.

So I follow a weak path around the headland, fairly high above the water with a steep drop to my left, but sheer rock to my right, and so no way up.

Gulp. Long way down

This goes on for about an hour and a half, passing various flora, cacti, dragonflies, and grazing llamas. As I said before, like a cross between a sheep and a giraffe, perhaps with the face of a camel! Strange but amusing creatures.

What do you think you're playing at, gringo?!

Like father, like son

Note "Farmer Giles" bit of hay or grass poking out of side of mouth

At this point I reach a dead end. The only way is back, or over the sheer rock. I spot a crack in the rock that might aid me.. and start climbing! As you will know, paying attention to my waffles, I am not the greatest fan of heights, and climbing vertical rock faces does not come naturally. Somehow though, after much effort, I manage it, and the other side, whilst still a fairly nasty drop, is nothing like the sheer face I've just ascended!

Okay this photo doesn't make it look so bad. But it was! Honest!

All that fun delayed me though, so I get to the next village and decide to collectivo or bus it to where I can take the boat. So I sit by the roadside for half an hour. Nothing comes! Bugger.

Looks almost like a rice paddyfield, but this being Bolivia I suspect unplanned weeds!

By now it's too late, I will have missed the last boat, so when the next collectivo comes heading back to Copacabana, I hop in. Disappointing, but was a nice walk nevertheless. No GPS for you as the damn battery had gone on it again, presumably because Muggins forgot to turn it off last time. Doh!

Back to town, to Trout shack number 7 this time, and I try Trucha al Diablo (Diabolical Trout?!). I think the idea is that it's supposed to be spicy. This equates to some tomato on top of it. Most delicious again though!

Almost forgot to take the photo, such was my haste to tuck in!

Had a beer with a nice English couple afterwards. The town is so small that you cannot help but bump into people. There is basically one street where all the bars and restaurants are. Anyway, meeting them again later for a few more beverages, not that I'll last long - you become a right lightweight when travelling for some reason. Two large beers and I'm usually heading straight to bed! How the mighty have fallen!

Current plan for next few days is to head to Isle del Sol for day trips on at least two days, with some lazing around here too, then head to La Paz on 14th, giving me two days there before I fly out to Brazil. I also need to work out what this popcorn "stuff" is that they are selling everywhere here. It's bizarre, the girls selling it have enormous sacks - about the size of your average estate car boot, filled with what looks like a cross between popcorn and dried mushrooms. They scoop it into smaller bags, about the size of a bucket, for people to buy. These large sacks all sit open, to flies, to the dust that blows about town whenever the wind gusts, and given the quantity about (every fifth building or so has someone in front selling it), I can't believe it goes that fast. And yet people do buy it! A mystery...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have a great Christmas and New Year Sam. Enjoying your posts - hope you continue to have a great time!
Bill Simpson.