So I jump in the pre-arranged cab, which is about the only thing Edgar Adventures did right. Tired and weary, I got to the bus station and paid 1 boliviano, some form of tax. The bus was due to leave at 7am, and this leg of the journey would be with Tour Peru. I showed my tickets but was told the bus I could see was for Copacabana, not La Paz. So I waited around another 10 minutes until bingo, La Paz bus. While waiting to board, I noticed that my tickets said La Paz and everyone else’s said La Paz directo. Just to be sure, I asked if anyone was sat in seat 13 (my seat). A lady said yes, and I knew I was 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. I ran around trying to find the damn key to open the luggage compartment and switched buses after 10 minutes of shouting and hand signals. Looks like I will have to switch buses 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. The bus stopped here, waited for the direct one (the one I rescued my bags from) to pull up, then both drivers got out what looked like maps and began arguing. Brilliant.
Eventually I 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, I paid for a bus with a toilet, and will use it if I want. Another reason I won’t be recommending Edgar Adventures.
Finally we hit Copacabana, and I was informed that I had an hour to burn. After a quick beer, I headed back to the bus. I was led away from the TourPeru bus and told to get onto a Vicuna Tours one instead. My tickets said TourPeru, I bought from Edgar Adventures, yet I was on a Vicuna bus? Right….
This bus had no toilet (I’m starting to hate Edgar), and 200 metres down the road I realised that it had no suspension either. Great. Every time there was a bump (constantly), I got a lovely dose of whiplash.
Due to the sheer size of Lake Titicaca, I was still at its edge. The road ends in Tiquina, and both you and your vehicle have to be shipped across the Lake. I 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.
As we waited for the bus to pick us up again, I was approached by the drunkest Bolivian I’ve ever seen (granted I’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, the bus arrived in La Paz. A huge city built in the valleys, yet still being 3,600 metres above sea level. I was dropped in the city centre, and after finding a map I made tracks towards my posh hotel (Stannum Boutique), where I 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 I obliged. The welcome drinks were nice, I had a Bolivian Mojito (coca leaves instead of mint).
After a quick walk and bite to eat, I hit the hay, with a great view from the hotel room.