Copacabana Travel Blog› entry 1 of 3 › view all entries
After a long bus ride I was exhausted and easily found a hostal to park in for a day. The lady running the hostal was absolutely beautiful, with a smile that lit up the entire building. She offered a room in the main area, but I wanted something on the upper level so that I could have a view of Lake Titicaca and the city.
First of all, that room was SMALL! I could easily reach across the room and touch both walls at the same time. It was perfect. The pinkest, pepto-bismal pink I have ever seen and cold, cold, cold! I absolutely loved it. No showers at the hostal, but that wasn't important.
I decided rest for about an hour before hitting the town, as I was exhausted from my bus ride. I left the door open a bit to keep from feeling too closed in and the sounds had me grinning. The lady of the house had a little boy, about 1 1/2 or so. Mama was doing laundry on the roof next to my room...a wash bucket, wash board, etc.
The next sound I heard was a huge splash, and intake of breath and a squeal. Mama had dumped her little boy in an icy bucket of bath water for his bath! After he got his breath back, he was back to laughing and splashing. I think his mama got more water on her than he did, but it was just laughing and hugging! See them together really made me appreciate how the South American society really honors the family unit and how they take pleasure in the smallest bits of the day.
After my rest, I headed towards the beach. The main street towards the lake is relatively quiet with only the occassional taxi taking tourists up and down the hill.
I stopped at a little restaurant for my lunch. The outside garden at the entry way was quiet and the day was sunny and beautiful, so I sat at a lopsided table to soak in the beauty. Looking at the prices I had no idea what was to come. I ordered the stuffed trout and a beer. Let me just say that this stuffed trout, in America, would cost me close to $100US, easily. Presentation was beautiful, but the taste was beyond comparison! The trout had been deboned (how the hell do you debone a TROUT?) and pan fried lightly. When I opened the belly it was stuffed with peppers and mushrooms and cheeses and garlic. It was the most amazing fish I had ever had in my entire life.
The main church plaza, like every other town in Bolivia and Peru, was beautiful. I never fathomed architecture like this in a South American country. When you first see the church you think of Southern Spain and the middle east. The domes and mosaic tiles and structures just don't seem to fit. Everything was starting to fit together now.
Walking down to Lake Titicaca was easy (finally someplace to go that was DOWN hill) and still relatively quiet. On the beach there are multiple cafes where you can find backpackers, high-end tourists and those in the middle (like me), sitting at a table, sipping coffee and just watching the lake. Yes, it is just a lake, yet it radiates peace and quiet.
So my overall impression of Copacabana...quiet, NOT wealthy, friendly and peaceful. What more can you ask of in a place like this? One day and one night was enough for me, as activity is limited if you aren't taking a boat out to the islands and I just didn't want to do that this trip. Maybe next time?
So, onward to Peru...next stop is Puno.
Moving from Bolivia to Peru is simple...right? Well, not for all. I had read stories about people who were arrested and had to pay the local police to get out. Things like that.
We arrived on the bus at the Bolivia border where we were asked to disembark and go through customs. While we did customs, the bus moved through the border, through no-mans-land, and on to Peru. While in the line, a friend I had met up with was talking with me. We just had a feeling. When he handed his passport to the policia at the door, they gathered around him and pulled him to the side. About now, I was getting a bit nervous. Do we all get the dirty-pat-down?
I continued with the line and easily went through, got my passport stamped and moved towards the door.
I continued to watch and saw him dig out his wallet. At first, 20 Bolivianos. I see the guard shake his head no and keep pointing at the passport. Then I see another 20 Bolivianos...more head shaking. Eighty Bolivianos later, my friend is released and had to run to catch the bus to continue to Puno. The policia told him that he had been in Bolivia too long, so had to pay a fee for the extra time. He actually had arrived only a few hours before I had and they never quesitoned me. :) So, while he is spitting and fuming, I pointed out that these 80 Bolivianos were only equivalent to $10US and could feed a family for 6 months. Yes, the principal of the matter is extortion, however, it really wasn't worth getting upset about.
So, on we headed to Puno, but this does make me a little more ready for the future. When I am traveling in any country, I need to remember that I am at the mercy of their judicial system and when push comes to shove....I will shut up, do what they ask and move on.