Across the Titicaca lake
San Pedro de Tiquina Travel Blog› entry 5 of 8 › view all entries
So we put our backpacks on our backs again and started walking to the little village of San Pedro de Tiquina. We decided to walk towards the ferry dock, where there was a little building with the word “Migración” on it - quite possibly they'd want to see our passport.
There was no one there, and as we were ready to move on, a short, bloated fellow came running towards us. He turned out to be a very nice guy, but he did want to know where we came from and how we got here. It turned out the ferry was not running because of the protests, so it was technically impossible that we had arrived here. When we explained to him we had come from La Paz this morning, that our taxi had left us in the middle of nowhere, that we had chartered a local fishing boat to bring us here and that the skipper was lacking the papers to actually moor on the peninsula so he'd dropped us off out of town.
“Passports ok? Excellent, move along, the bus to Copacabana is arriving shortly”
And indeed, five minutes later a minivan arrived. At $ 4 for a 45 minute drive to Copacabana this was the cheapest transportation we'd had all day, and we were overjoyed we were finally getting there. 45 minutes... that would mean we'd get to Copacabana at 3.30, which would mean I'd have a couple hours to wonder around and still have enough time to take the 6 o'clock bus to Puno in Peru. It looked like everything would be allright after all.
Our bus driver was in a hurry; he sped along the winding mountain roads at breakneck speed. The views were magnificent though: the dark blue waters of lake Titicaca, the mountains surrounding it, the afternoon sun adding a fairy-like glow to everything - just brilliant.
Unfortunately our joy was not to last. We noticed how the driver seemed to have problems driving his van. He kept stamping with his right foot, and gear shifting seemed to happen without the use of a clutch. And then a loud bang, followed by some rumble from the engine.
We stopped and the driver and co-driver crept underneath the car. Olav and I were the only passengers on the minibus and all we could do was get out and watch.
That is two breakdowns in a day. Obviously it was Murphey's law that on a day like today, with the amount of challenges we'd had, we would fail less than 20 kilometres from Copacabana...
20 minutes of tinkering later a canister of breaking fluid was poured into a little reservoir beneath the steering wheel and we were all set to go again. The canister was chucked into the booth and to my great shock there were four more empty canisters there - just how fast were these breaks leaking?
The new breaking fluid did not seem to do much, as the car did not seem to respond to the driver pushing the break pedal. That did not deter him from driving down a winding mountain road at 80 kilometres an hour though, nor did he care much for the two deadly pale tourists in the back who repeatedly asked him to slow down.
The driver was not planning on dying today though, and he got us down the mountain in one piece. When the breakless van came to a halt on a little mound in front of Copacana's cathedral Olav and I were able to walk in and get converted to whatever religion they were preaching there. This was by far the scariest driving experience in my life.