Our last day in Peru we meandered through the pretty countryside close to the shores of Lake Titicaca.
Compared to tales from some other travellers we have been lucky up til now as the border crossing into Bolivia was the first time we’ve been asked for “unofficial” payments. While being stamped out of Peru the official asked for a $20 payment, after us repeating “por que” a couple of times he said it was a “voluntario” payment, we chose not to pay! On the Bolivian side of the border a policeman asked for $5 for a Peaje (road toll) unfortunately for him his sidekick couldn’t keep a straight face and it was obviously a scam. So again we chose not to pay, especially as we had to open the barrier ourselves!
Quinoa in it’s raw state, a very pretty crop.
We spent the night in Copacabana the first tourist spot in Bolivia. Obviously not the same place favoured by Barry Manilow, there were ladies in traditional dress but no show girls.
We took a slow, rather long and boring boat ride to the Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca, the weather on the island didn’t live up to it’s name hence the washed out skies in the pics.
Our photo was taken by Sandy a traveller from Hong Kong who we spent the day with but forgot to get a photo of. ☹️
The usual thing to do on the island is to be dropped at the north end and walk along the ridge for about 4 hours then pick up a boat in the south to head back. A couple of weeks before we arrived there had been a dispute between villages in the north and south regions to do with damage to some Inca ruins and the north is closed to tourists for now. Bit of a shame and must be a blow to the islanders involved in the tourist industry.
John showing an unusual interest in some tourist toot.
So much prettier with blue skies.
Our next boat trip on the lake included Juanita as it’s necessary to cross the water to join the road to La Paz.
La Paz, a city that has an interesting centre to walk around although at 3640 metres it’s the highest capital city in the world so the pace was pretty slow.
You’re never too young to work a fruit and veg stall.
Equador, Peru and Boliva all have 100’s of different types of potato. These brown and white stone like objects are potatoes that have been dried for up to 2 years and are then rehydrated to use is soups or cooked and served with a spicy sauce. Bolivian equivalent of Smash!
The clock on the Bolivian Congress building, do you spot anything odd? In 2014 the government of Evo Morales decided to reverse the numbers to signify that as a country in the Southern Hemisphere Bolivia could be free thinking and didn’t have to adhere to the traditions of the Northern Hemisphere?!? According to our walking tour guide the population in general thought this and other things the current president has done and said to be quite “loco”.
He certainly has made some odd statements to give “guidance” to the people, here are a few examples..
He stated that eating too much hormone fed, factory farmed chicken could make them gay!
Drinking too much Coca Cola may make them bald!
As the population started to fall because some Bolivian women were choosing not to start families so young and having less children he banned contraception!
This last act had women and the medical professionals protesting in the streets, he hadn’t given any thought to sexual health let alone human rights and had to reverse the ban pretty quick.
The Witches Market or El Mercado de las Brujas sells all kinds of herbs, potions and spells used as alternative medicine, the furry creatures hanging from the top of the stall are dried llama foetuses. It is still traditional to bury one of these as an offering to the goddess Pachamama either in the foundations of a new building or in crop fields to attract wealth and wellbeing and to keep away bad energy.
So, it goes without saying that Easter or Semana Santa as it is called in Spanish speaking countries is a big thing here. This is the Good Friday parade, with the rather sinister looking Capirote pointy masks.
La Paz has the world’s highest cable car, Mi Teleferico. It’s definitely the best way to view the sprawling, higgledy piggledy city surrounded by mountains.
This not so great pic was the closest we wanted to get to the entrance of San Pedro jail. This infamous jail was built to house 600 inmates but now holds 3000, this number is made up of prisoners and their families who live in with them. There are only 14 guards and they patrol the perimeter, inside the prison is managed by a hierarchy of the prisoners themselves. It runs as an independent community with prisoners having to find paid work within the prison to pay for their cell and all their expenses. There are restaurants, markets, tradesmen and cocaine production amongst other ways to make money. We spent a bit of time sitting in the Plaza outside and there were some very colourful characters coming and going. There is a school along the street for the inmates children to attend. Until a few years ago it was easy to go inside on a tour but there have been a few instances of assaults on tourists and officially it has stopped. Unofficially some of the colourful characters in the Plaza will offer tours, not so certain there would be a cast iron guarantee of a safe return to freedom provided!
Bye for nowxx