12-13 October, Cusco (Peru) to La Paz and Sorato, Bolivia
Met with Jose and he took me to the bus. I had to find the internet to email Ruben at the Quakers in Bolivia. I did that and waited to get on the bus at around 10.30pm. I heard some Australian voices. A mother and daughter we traveling together. The daughter had been working as a physio therapist volunteer in Cusco and her mum was spending time with her. They had done some long hikes together. They were from Canberra, my home town.
I got on the bus and had my first experience of first class. It was down stairs and only around 13 seats. On the right hand side were single seats and the left hand side were double. The seats went right back and there was a leg rest that flipped forward from the seat in front. So I had a comfortable night sleep for the first time on a bus. I was surprised to note a guy walk in and film us all. I asked why he said security. Then I asked why again and he said he had no English which was a lie. I was concerned about that I gave no permission to be filmed.
I woke up the next morning lying back on my seat then opened the blinds. It is lovely to travel in the countryside and see mountains on one side the lake on the other. Passing little houses, cattle, sheep and farmers or locals walking on the road. I really love the magic of traveling and never knowing what is coming up next.
We didn’t get any food on the bus which was surprising but fortunately I had a sweet drink which kept hunger at bay. There was no toilet paper or water in the toilet (bano) which I find frustrating. For women who have periods this can be very difficult and given that many foreigners catch the buses you would think they would have them fully stocked. But this is South America and efficiency is not top of the list.
We stopped at the border to deal with customs. A Spanish guy with the bus company started talking to me as I was working out where we are. I couldn’t understand and then an Australian girl showed up. Her name was Tash from Brisbane and she ended up being my translator and guide through customs into Bolivia and back on the bus. She was traveling for 1 year and was planning to meet her parents in Argentina in a month. She had studied law in Brisbane and had decided to do another degree in nutrition. She told me she studied Spanish for two months and appeared fluent. She said she loved studying it passionately and worked really hard. She was a young woman and I felt really impressive. She smiled a lot as she spoke. I asked her how her parents felt about her traveling alone, her father was worried but her mother knew she was capable. She said ‘nothing will happen to me, I am fine.’ I feel the same way with my trip as well. She said she was skypeing them regularly as her last trip to Canada she didn’t communicate enough. We got back on the bus and she kindly gave me some toilet paper and did some translation for me with two ladies. Funnily enough Tash had encouraged me to go to Argentina and then as soon as I got on the bus for some reason the women sitting across from me also told me to go to Argentina, when this happens I take it as a cue that I should go. It is called synchronicity as Carl Jung coined it.
We arrived at La Paz, very big city with huge snow capped mountains. Apparently it snowed for the first time today. This is a far cry from the hot weather I experienced on my journey and I did note to myself that I was in the northern hemisphere, when I came to South America I came into winter. So La Paz is around 5,000 metres above sea level. I walked with Tash to get some money out and then found a phone and rang Ruben. He and his fiancé Rebecca came towards me. I told them I hadn’t eaten and they kindly took me to a vegetarian restaurant. Then they asked if I wanted to go to Sorato to go to a school the next day as a clown. I agreed and they took me to the local mini bus. It cost 15 Bolivianos (7b to US$1). So I caught this cramped little mini bus which took three hours to get to Sorato. We traveled back to lake Titicaca and then up into the mountains. I arrived at a small town and was met by Alicia.
Alicia is a lovely woman who is the Principal at the Quaker school in Sorato. She and a little girl called Bolaria (5 years old) walked me to the school. I have nice quarters sharing with her. She then offered me some coffee and bread that was freshly cooked. I asked for letche (milk) and we walked to the shop and bought some powdered milk. I do like coffee with letche. Anyway afterwards I took a shower and rested. I then dressed up a little and gave a talk to the kids about my world trip and clowning. I showed them a presentation I made clowning around the world. The kids enjoyed it but I noticed them talking toward the end. More action less talking will be the go, translation takes too much time. Kids have short attention spans.
Anyway back in the room, finished blogging and off to sleep to get energy for two schools tomorrow.