So we jump in our pre arranged cab, which is about the only thing Edgar Adventures did right. Tired and weary,we got to the bus station and paid our 1 boliviano each, some form of tax.
The bus was due to leave at 7am, and this leg of the journey would be with Tour Peru. We showed our tickets but were told the bus we could see was for copacabana, not la paz. So we waited around another 10 minutes until bingo, la paz bus. We loaded our bags and waited to board. While waiting, I noticed that our tickets said la paz and everyone else’s said la paz directo. Just to be sure, I asked if anyone was at in seat 13 (my seat). A lady said yes, and I knew we were in trouble.
We went back to the copacabana bus and the lady had the nerve to say ‘yes, this bus. You are late.’ I felt like screaming. We ran around trying to find the damn key to open the luggage compartment and switched busses after 10 minutes of shouting and hand signals. Looks like we will have to switch busses in copacabana.
Just before the border crossing there is a split in the road, one way goes direct to la paz, the other to copa. Our bus stopped here, waited for the direct one (the one we rescued our bags from) to pull up, then both drivers got out what looked like maps and began arguing. Brilliant.
Eventually we hit the border. Big queue to get a Peruvian leaving stamp and the same to get a welcome to Bolivia one.
I reembarked onto the bus and tried to use the toilet, and the driver went mental, as there were lots of toilets near the border. Firstly, those toilets charge for use. Secondly, we paid for a bus with a toilet, and will use it if we want. Another reason we won’t be recommending Edgar Adventures.
Finally we hit Copacabana, and we were informed that we had an hour to burn. I grabbed fish and veg smothered in mustard, Gem had veg and rice, our first meal in Bolivia was good. After a quick beer, we headed back to the bus. We were led away from the TourPeru bus and told to get onto a Vicuna Tours one instead. Our tickets said TourPeru, we bought from Edgar Adventures, yet we were on a Vicuna bus? Right….
This bus had no toilet (I’m starting to hate Edgar), and 200 metres down the road we realised that it had no suspension either. Great. Every time there was a bump (constantly), we got a lovely dose of whiplash.
Due to the sheer size of Lake Titicaca, we were still at its edge. The road ends in Tiquina, and both you and your vehicle have to be shipped across the Lake. We jumped into a small wooden boat and zipped away across the choppy water. I felt sorry for a Bolivian lady that clearly struggled with water as we crossed, to then lose her shoe into the water as she fell onto the pier when disembarking.
The funniest sight had to be the bus however, being shipped across on some planks of wood…
As we waited for the bus to pick us up again, I was approached by the drunkest Bolivian I’ve ever seen (granted we’d only been there an hour) and after saying ‘excuse me’ 47 times, he realized he couldn’t speak anymore English and staggered away.
Not long after leaving Tiquina, we were in La Paz. A huge city built in the valleys, yet still being 3,600 metres above sea level.
We were dropped in the city centre, and after finding a map we made tracks towards our posh hotel (Stannum Boutique), where we would be spending one night.
It is on the 12th floor of Multicine, a large cinema and shopping centre. I had prepaid for the room so I don’t see why we had to let them swipe a card, but they were insistent so we obliged. The welcome drinks were nice, I had a Bolivian Mojito (coca leaves instead of mint) and Gem had a fruit smoothie.
After a quick walk and bite to eat, we hit the hay, with the best view I’ve ever had from a hotel room.