Bye Bye Bolivia
Tupiza Travel Blog› entry 23 of 115 › view all entries
I can´t say that I will be crying to see the back of Bolivia. Don´t get me wrong, it´s a beautiful country with fantastic and varied scenery and endless opportunities to do things on a budget. However, after three months in the thin air of the Andes, I´m ready for a bit of a break. Argentina is reputed to be much more European and I´ll be glad of a few more creature comforts. And so, without further ado, I give to you my top five pros and cons of travelling in Bolivia:
1. It´s cheap as chips (with chicken and rice obviously).
2. It has some of the most breathtaking scenery I´ve seen - particularly in the south - Salar de Uyuni and around is a highlight of anyone´s trip in SA.
3. It has a diverse range of places to visit - rainforest, pampas, salt flats, desert, wild west style rocky mountains - take your pick.
4. It has one of the great South American cities in La Paz - where the new and traditional collide daily on the heaving streets. You´ll see bulky bowler-hatted indigenous ladies bustling down the street alongside strutting besuited businessmen and a stall selling dodgy CDs and DVDs on the pavement directly outside the office of an international corporation. And no-one but the tourists seems to bat so much asan eyelid about it.
5. It´s cheap as chips (really, it is, almost everything is loads less than anywhere else in SA - so I think this counts as a double pro. To be honest I can´t think of any others so it´ll have to do).
1. Sorry Bolivians, but the girls here aren´t much to shout about. The only time I saw decent women was at the Carnaval in Oruro where there were hundreds in the parade flashing their knickers at all and sundry. I reckon they must have a big basement where they keep them all chained up for the rest of the year to stop them eating vats of chicken and chips and turning into lard monkeys.
2. The buses and roads are utter crap. Enough said.
3. There is a toilet seat famine throughout the country. What is this all about? I know Bolivia is a poor country but a plastic toilet seat is not going to break the bank. However, lack of one may well destroy my thigh muscles: rotgut food and no bog seat does not a happy Salad Boy make. Oh and bog roll is almost always BYO as well.
4. Outside of La Paz, the food is pretty poor - you either like chicken and chips/pizza or you go hungry.
5. There are a lot of gringos in all the principal places to visit, this doesn´t make for a particularly authentic experience. If you fancy getting off the beaten track you can, but please re-read and fully comprehend Con number 2 before you do.
So there you have it, I know there are many travellers that love Bolivia for its roughness and wouldn´t have it any other way. One girl said to me that the buses were charming. Maybe if I had visited here first, they would have seemed more full of character for me as well. However, having already been in Ecuador, the charm factor connected to spending 10 hours bouncing around like a sack of spuds on a cramped seat whilst 300 locals force their way into the aisle and elbow you in the head to a Cumbia (3 legged horse music) soundtrack was significantly diminished.
To the people of Bolivia: I offer my apologies, your country is not a bad one and you seem nice enough people, I´m just a little jaded (and also have a shocking stomach from some of your terrible food) and thoroughly ready for a change of lifestyle. So bring on the steak, icecream, cheese, wine, splendid buses and gorgeous girls of Argentina!