In the Andes, especially in Bolivia, mate de coca was a great option. It is basically a tea of coca leaves: as the Bolivians say, “la hoja de coca no es droga” (Coke leaf is not a drug). Maybe not a drug, but it is supposed to help with soroche, altitude sickness. I’m a big tea drinker, especially of green tea, and I did like the taste of the beverage.
Latinos apparently have a sweet tooth: there were panaderías (bakery) just about anywhere!
Food in Bolivia is quite basic, and there aren’t many supermarkets (if at all). Sanitation isn’t the country’s strong point either, and even though there were many food stalls in La Paz, I skipped on those. However, Copacabana, on the shore of Lake Titicaca, had some of the best fish I have ever had.
We both loved our trip in Central and South America. And now that we are home again in Canada, we thought about it: what were the best places, the best cities that we saw… and what were the worst experiences?
We got up at 4:45 am, cold and tired, having slept barely a few hours. We packed in the dark. I brushed my teeth quickly and decided to skip washing my face with some expensive French product, for once. The water was freezing and of course, no hot water.
We got to the bus station sleepy and cranky. Once the “use of bus terminal” fee paid, we had just enough bolivianos for a bottle of water. We boarded the bus, still dark outside, leaving La Paz behind us. Crossing the Andes, again, to Chile.
I’m cold, I’m tired, my clothes are dirty and I can barely breathe. One of these days I guess.
Soon enough, our bus was blocked by a demonstration. A common occurrence in Evo Morales´country apparently. We stayed stuck for a good hour before the driver finally gave up, parked the bus and let us go. Feng and I took a few minutes to read the map and figure out where we were (hint: in a dodgy neighbourhood).
The scenery was beautiful. The huge lake, 3,800 meters above sea level. The clouds, so low, us, so high that we feel we can touch the sky. The burning hot sun during the day and the chilly nights. The local dish, trouts, huge fishes cooked with lemon and tomatoes.
Our bus stopped in the middle of nowhere (literally) and we had a chance to take pictures of the lamas and the alpacas, as well as flamingos. We could barely breathe: at 3,000 meters, oxygen is scarce. Just walking a few meters is hard (smoking not, funny enough – yes, I know).