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Tear Gas and Trucha

Copacabana, Bolivia


We spent a final couple of days in La Paz and for our last night invested in a bottle of rum which we got for just over a pound. It was a good night although, despite four separate attempts, we failed to find a decent club in La Paz. I´d heard that some of the rival clubs in La Paz tear gas each other (this also happened in Cusco while we were there) and after a few minutes waiting for the music to divert from its monotonous pounding I would find myself painting pictures of pandemonium and planning my escape route.

Clearly I was ready for a change of scene and after eating away our hangovers the next morning we said our farewells and took the (nice and short) bus ride to Copacabana. It was a fascinating and beautiful trip through miles of arid mountain farmland until we came to the calm expanse of Lake Titicaca. Along the shore cars and coaches were being loaded onto flimsy wooden rafts and ferried across. We joined this surreal traffic and Josh and I decided to remain on the bus as we crossed rather than take a separate boat. Safely on the other side we continued our journey around the lake

When we reached Copacabana the sun had begun its slow descent into the lake which stretched as far as you could see. The golden light cast spectacular shadows as we came down into the town and I couldn’t help but think that this was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. I dribbled to think that there would also be fresh trout in every restaurant. I´m really very easily pleased sometimes.

The ferry to Isla del Sol, a scenic island on Lake Titicaca, left early the next morning and we headed to the Northern part which was supposedly the most spectacular. The lake looked even bigger and in the light of day snow capped mountains were visible on distant shores. The day was sunny with a cold breeze and we made the most of it by walking up into the dusty hills where we found a maze of Inca ruins and striking views in every direction. Challapampa, where we were staying, was sandwiched beautifully between two sandy beaches and we spent the rest of the day relaxing and eating more trout.

Aside from the incredible surroundings, one incident stood out for me that day. We had just finished eating when a pair of local kids appeared mischievously as the window. The smaller of them, a little boy with a dry face and a wonderfully snotty nose, was particularly excited to meet us and let out an incredible fart – way beyond his yeas – which we all found genuinely hilarious. I rewarded him and his slightly less controversial sister with a couple of sweets I found in the bottom of my bag. I also decided to demonstrate my own abilities when we got outside (by now Josh was unimpressed with even my most creative morning expulsions) but, disappointingly, little Snotface was gone.

We explored the south of the island the next day – more Inca ruins and scenic trout consumption – before heading back to Copacabana for a final night next to Titicaca. By the time we were delivered back, the sky had clouded over. As we got off the boat, huge clouds of dust blew across the town. Then, for the first time in South America, it rained. Actually it was more like hail and it didn’t last long but I couldn’t help noticing that Copacabana didn’t look quite as attractive this time around as we power-walked to our hostel, making strange faces into the gritty wind.


permalink written by  steve_stamp on July 24, 2009 from Copacabana, Bolivia
from the travel blog: The art of being lost
tagged Ruins, LakeTiticaca, TearGas, Trucha and IslaDelSol

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