At the Copa, Copacabana....
Copacabana Travel Blog› entry 3 of 15 › view all entries
We decided to leave La Paz a day earlier than expected and headed to the lakeshore town of Copacabana. No relation to the Barry Manilow song, to my knowledge. The lake, by the way, is Lake Titicaca. It is the highest navigable lake in the world.
We hired 'Arturo' to take us on the 3 hour journey across the Bolivian Altiplano in his Toyota Forerunner.
(Oh, one other note about the morning, speaking of cars. We hired a taxi to take us to the top of La Paz mountains for some photo opportunities of the magnificent valley and city below. Well the photo opp lasted longer than expected because his car broke down! He opened up the engine and fiddled with stuff while I turned the ignitiion key hoping I wasnt going to hurt him, or send the car barrelling down the mountainside.)
Back on the road to Copacabana....across the Altiplano....perhaps the highlight was when we passed through some kind of border patrol checkpoint, and Arturo had to step out of the car and go to the office with all his documents. 10 minutes later, everything proved to be ok. But it had us scared for a minute.. Just who did we hire to take us across the Altiplano??
Another highlight was crossing part of the lake on a wooden barge...Forerunner and all. We had to get out of the car, though, because apparently a few years ago a barge sank while carrying a bus full of people. Everyone drowned. Now authorities (ok the little dude in a hat running the show) make everyone get out of the car. One barge carries only one car, by the way. And it is amazing to watch the barge twist and bend as it rolls over the small lake whitecaps. We made the 15 minute journey, thankfully.
We arrived at Copacabana and checked into Ambassador Hotel. The hotel was basically empty, and rooms were only $5 apiece, but for some reason (probably my communication error) we wound up with four beds all in the SAME room.
We had some autentico trucha (trout) for dinner. Mixed reviews. Melissa was feeling tired so she went off to bed, while Chris, Griff, and I went to a local cafe for some mate de coca (dan) and beers (griff and chris). Once the mate de coca hit me, i then felt strong enough to order a local Bolivian drink..some kind of warmed combination of bolivian type grappa and lemon tea. Good but powerful. The leathery waitress and I had a good time talking about Salar, and complaining (as I have done the whole trip) that it isnt on our itinerary.
After the couple drinks, we were smashed. On the way home, we peaked into a 'coliseo' which was housing an indoor soccer game on a concrete pitch. Five on five, with smaller field and nets. Looked like amateur hour, until we realized we were at 14,000 feet!!
Back home at Ambassador in our cozy 4 person room, we hit the beds...though none of us really slept.