Contenta in
March 22, 2007

I started off the morning with a little walk up a mountain called Calvario. My lungs were protesting almost the entire time – they
don’t get too excited about the idea of doing uphill physical activity at 4,000 meters (about 12,000 feet).

I was winded by the time I got to the top but it was worth every wheezing moment. I would have never thought of the coastline of
Lake Titicaca to resemble that of the Mediterranean…but it does. A person could sit up there and ponder life for many o’ hours. For
that matter, a person could also sit up there and not think about one single thing and be more than content. I already knew that I
wanted to go back there to watch the sunset.

Lindsey, Robin and John came in this afternoon. We met up and had a very tranquilo afternoon sitting and eating lunch in the
garden of the place that they’re staying. We decided to meet up later to go up Calvario to watch the sunset.  

Afterwards, I set out to do a mini-trek. I only got an hour into it before the rain clouds decided to follow me. I took that as a hint
and turned around to head back to Copa. But I have to say that I was loving what I was seeing – cows, pigs and sheep all grazing
away with the mountains serving as a backdrop. Also women working in the fields (women always seem to be the ones doing back-
breaking work in developing countries). There is also really wonderful about sharing the streets with locals and being able to admire
their traditional dress while passing by them. I am hoping to head out a bit further on the path on my last day here before taking
the bus out of town.

I took an hour to relax in my room with a view before meeting up with my peeps to head out for our sunset outing. Unfortunately,
many clouds filled the sky but we didn’t let that stop us.

I was hoping that by doing this same walk this morning my lungs would have acclimated a bit. They didn’t. But once up there, I
again immediately forgot about the lack of oxygen entering my body and could only focus on soaking in the views. It was brought up
by someone that we were up at the height that airplanes usually fly. Funny that you can’t use any electrical gadget until you are up
to 10,000 feet in the air. And here we were at
12,000 feet. I wonder if this means the electrical gadget rule doesn’t apply to flights
coming into Bolivia??? Actually, the lake feels big enough to be an ocean so it is almost easy to think that you are at sea level. Well,
that is until you can’t walk up a flight of stairs without stopping to collect a few breaths.

Dinner tonight became somewhat of a joke. This was the case for everyone that opted to dine at the same restaurant we were at. I
don’t have enough energy to relive every moment of it. But I will jot down a few highlights…

  • There was a three person operation: a man who cooked, a woman who brought out one drink at a time every five minutes and
    a ~7-year old boy who was taking orders.
  • It took over one hour to get served our drinks.
  • We played a game consisting of charades while waiting. Instead of other people thinking we were crazy loons, they were
    actually getting ideas of things to do to pass the time (it surprisingly did make the time fly by).
  • The people at the table next to us were served their wine bottle. But with no bottle opener and nobody was anywhere to be
  • When it was resolved, there were no wine glasses so they were drinking their wine out of shot glasses.
  • They also got their appetizer after they were done with their meals.
  • We received our food two hours after placing the order.

We couldn’t leave soon enough. When we first got there, we loved the atmosphere. By the time we left, Lindsey couldn’t even go to
the restaurant/bar for a drink next door because it was still too close and, therefore, elicited the painful dinner memories.

We ended up going down to the waterfront where music was playing. It was some sort of festival, we presumed. Everybody was
standing waiting for something to happen while listening to the sounds of a high school marching band. Turned out to be some sort
of nighttime race. Only three people crossed the finish line. Then everybody went from standing on the sidelines to gathering
around in a circle. Were there only three people in the race? We will never know.

But I can tell you this. Bolivians seem to take musical chairs seriously.
Very seriously. So much so that police and guys in military
fatigues had their batons out and made sure that everyone was a considerable distance away from the chairs.

I am now watching the ‘festival’ from my room and listening to the music. The only problem with this is that they sound as if they
are next-door to me and I need to wake up early to go out to do some trekking on Isla del Sol. And South American music isn’t
necessarily something that is going to lull someone to sleep. Hmmm…

March 23, 2007

After having an oh-so-fabulous day on Isla del Sol, I met up with Lindsey, Robin and John at their place. Ohhhhh… Tonight was my
last night hanging out with Lindsey, Robin and John. Definitely had to make the most of it.

I brought my host/hostess gift of Bolivian wine and m&m’s. I think the day of trekking made the wine hit us especially hard (well,
at least me) and we were more than ready to head out to dinner. Hunger pangs were hitting.

I capped off my last night in Bolivia with the worst meal that I have had in this country. I have absolutely no idea which area of the
cow my beef came from…but there should be some memo sent out that the meat from this area is nearly inedible. This probably
should have been obvious when the whole table was moving as I was trying to cut a piece off. Ughh, and then there were the pisco
shots. Pisco is basically the equivalent of cheap grappa. Disgusting. Personally, I think it is just plain wrong to drink it any other way
than in a pisco sour.          

Now I am back from the bar. Feel a bit drunk. I needed water at the bar and I forgot to get some. Now I am sitting here
needing water but I am not about to leave my room to go search for it.  

March 24, 2007


Hungover. So hungover. I need water. I have no water. I need to go to a store. That means I have to get out of my room. But my
head is killing me and I need my aspirin. That means I need to go out to get water. Ughhh…


Ahhh… What a difference water and aspirin make! I feel great now! I already headed out to the market so I could get one of those
plastic plaid bags (very common in developing countries) to put my overflow in since I bought more than I expected to in Bolivia.
Since it is a Saturday, the market was in full-swing. There is something that is just so fascinating to me about the locals. I love
watching them.

It’s about that time to check-out of my hotel. At 1:00am I head to Cusco, Peru via Puno. I am staying in Puno for a bit to visit the
‘Islas Flotantes’ on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca. Then it’s an overnight bus to Cusco…


I’m on the bus right now. The rest of ‘Team Fast-Track’ came into Copa today so I got to see them for a few minutes and say good-
bye to the entire crew before heading out of town.
Back to Bolivia.
Robin, Lindsey and me on top of the hill.

At our painfully long dinner.
Woman who sold me my prickly pear
cactus fruit.