08 October 2007

Hey Zach, I walked into Bolivia!

Maeve and I really zipped through Peru and into Bolivia in the last few days. We took a tour bus from Cuzco to Puno, stopping along at some rather mediocre attractions along the way, though I did like the Inca ruin that looks like a Roman aqueduct. Arriving in Puno, we immediately decided we didn't like it, but Puno is simply a means to an end, and that end is Lake Titicaca, in particular the famous floating reed islands of said lake. The day after the bus tour, we got a late start because Maeve had to make a brief stop at a clinic. While I was waiting for her, I noticed some syringes on the table and thought, "Hmm..." Five minutes later, I had five of my own. Total cost: less than one dollar. And all I had to do was ask. Why did I want syringes, you're wondering? Well, it's just a precautionary measure in case I need a blood transfusion or some other syringe-requiring medical procedure while in, say, Western China (or somewhere else where they reuse them). I only hope US Customs doesn't confiscate them during my brief reentry because they think I'm a heroin addict.


After that, we went on a typical tour to the reed islands, and My God! were they amazing. Yes, a bit touristy in part, as expected, but quite remarkable nonetheless. Can you even imagine the sight of dozens of glowing yellow islets, all with a ring of glowing yellow houses, bobbing tranquilly in the blue of one of the world's highest lakes? I remarked that I might consider living there for a time. Naturally, I was informed by an islander that a Japanese guy did just that some time ago, for a month.

Upon returning to Puno, we were informed that, at the late hour that it was, we had no chance to reach the border before it closed. We made the attempt anyway and ended up sleeping there. I like border towns, though. They're a bit dodgy, a bit exciting, a bit, forgive the pun, edgy. Plus, there was some kind of local festival going on. Instead of watching it, Maeve and I ate french fries and went to bed.

The next day, we rose early and took a combi for 15 cents to the border. Maeve had a bit of bad luck, since she was selected for a random search (they asked her if she was carrying marijuana or cocaine) and she lost her tourist card and had to buy a new one. I, on the other hand, was stamped out in a flash, with not even an extortion attempt. From there, (are you reading this, Zach?), we had to walk into Bolivia. Under an arch. Stamp, stamp again, and we were off to Copacabana, Bolivia's only beach town. Maeve doesn't like it (not exactly like the one in Brazil, I suppose). I find its laid back filth quite charming. I find the dollar-a-night hotel even more charming. Tonight, we're going to climb a hill, watch a sunset, and eat trout.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is always nice to cross international borders by foot. My favorite story is when my brother was hiking in the Czech Republic and accidentally hiked into Poland (he only knew because his Europhone beeped that he crossed a border). Walk on Steve. -Zach