The International Journal of Sport and Leisure
(Some sport. Some leisure. Also, schistosomiasis.)
Galapagos Islands (5)
About Me (1)
Ecuador: Quito (5)
Honduras: Utila (4)
Rio de Janeiro (2)
South Africa (13)
Temporary Update (1)
* South of Durban
* Escape from the Cape
* Skydiving for Bacon
* Rage Against the Machine
* Bite Me
* Africa Cold
* Scum-Dodging on Long Street
* Cable Cars, Lentil Soup and Bart Simpson
* Cape Town
* Cape Drear
* Lows of Travel ("Welcome to Africa")
* High Entertainment
* Paradise or Miami Vice? (Part 2 of 2)
* Paradise or Miami Vice? (Part 1 of 2)
* Don't Make Me Cry, Argentina
* Hago el Vago en Buenos Aires (Part III: Final Week)
* Gloom at the Top
* Its The End Of The World As I Know It
* Perito Moreno Glacier
January 02, 2005
La Paz and Quiet
La Paz, Bolivia
Saturday and Sunday, January 1 - 2, 2005:
I spent a mellow couple of days wandering through La Paz. It was deadly quiet after the manic bustle of New Years Eve, but there were plenty of markets to visit and quiet cafes to read in.
On Saturday afternoon, Laura and I stopped into a travel agency so that Laura could look into booking a trip down the "World´s Most Dangerous Road." Apparently, it really is the world´s most dangerous road, with a narrow dirt and dust stretch winding down a cliff edge through the mountains from 4600 meters to 100 meters at the bottom (approaching the Amazon Basin). Numerous fatalities are reported each year, usually involving a vehicle flying over the sides of the mountains to resting spots 1000s of feet below. Some of these vehicles are full passenger buses. I watched as Laura signed up. The travel agent, a very efficient but unintentionally loud and abrupt German, barked instructions at her in the only tone of voice he seemed capable of; a rapidfire shout. "YOUMUSTGONEXTDOORTOTHECOMPANYTO CLAIMYOURFREETSHIRT!!!! ZEYMUSTGIVEYOUAFREETSHIRT!!! DONOTLETTHEMFORGETTOGIVEYOU ZISTSHIRTBECAUSEITISPARTOFZEPRICEANDYOUPAYEDFORITALREADYSODO NOTLETTHEMCHARGEYOUTOGIVEYOUZIS TSHIRT!!!YOUMUSTBEATZE COMPANYAT8AM!!! NOTLATERTHAN8AM!!! BEZHEREAT8AMORYOUWILLNOTBE ABLETOGOBECAUSEZEYWILLEAVEWIZOUT YOUIFYOUARENOTZHERE!!!" Or something like that. I´m 90% accurate, if not more.
After more than 3 months sans a Big Mac or Whopper, I was itching for a fix of fast-food. Laura and I went to dinner at Burger King on Saturday night and my taste buds delighted in a greasy chicken sandwich with crispy, salty fries. "Tastes like HO-OME!" I gushed after my first bite. Not only that but it looked like any other Burger King you would go to in the States. Except for the big poster of La Paz at night that hung on one of the walls.
On Sunday, I was walking by the tour company Laura signed up for the bike tour with when I noticed an advertisement for tickets to Rurrenabaque in the Bolivian Amazon Basin --- departing first thing on Monday morning. Having read in Lonely Planet that "Bolivia´s slice of the Amazon Basin encompasses half of the country´s entire territory and is a prime place to experience pristine rain forest" and that "by contrast to [heavily populated and degraded stretches of Brazilian Amazon] northern Bolivia remains relatively undeveloped," I had long since planned to go. I stopped in and talked to the German. It sounded alright so, on the spur of the moment, I bought tickets. "YOUMUSTBEATZE AIRPORTAT6:30AM!!!" shouted the German. "CHECKINISAT6:30ANDIFYOU ARENOTZHEREAT6:30ZEPLANEMAYLEAVEWIZOUTYOUORYOUMAYHAVEYOURTICKETREBOOKED ANDYOUVILLNOTBEABLETOFLY!!!YOUMUSTLEAVEFORZE AIRPORT AT 6:00 BECAUSEITVILLTAKEAHALFANHOURTOGETTOZEAIRPORT!!! YOUMUSTTAKEATAXI!!! DONOTTAKEABUSBECAUSEZHEREAREDRUNKPEOPLEON ZEBUSANDZEYAREDANGEROUSANDZEBUSESAREDANGEROUSANDZEYAREVERY SLOWSOMETIMESANDYOUMUSTBEZHEREAT6:30SOYOUCANNOTBELATEBY TAKINGZEBUSSODONOTTAKEZEBUSBECAUSEIFYOUDOITISDANGEROUSAND YOUVILLBELATEANDMISSZECHECKINAT6:30!!!"
"Umm. Ok," I said.
But that was the noisiest it got. The rest of La Paz seemed to be sleeping off a collective hangover.
Posted by Joshua on January 2, 2005 03:22 PM
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