Coco leaves

La Quiaca Travel Blog

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Well after a 28 hr bus ride from Buenos Aires, we have finally arrived in La Quica. Despite the long ride, it was absolutely beutiful. Northern Argentina is spectacular, huge mountains, rivers and lots of wildlife. Im usually not the biggest nature guy, but Ive got to admit, it was pretty cool. Also, the bus played a lot of movies to keep you intertained... good wholesome family films like.... I dunno, the new American Pie movie. Come on, theres children on the bus man!

We crossed the border and now we are on the Bolivian side in a town call Villazon. It was actually a pretty funny trying to pass through customs. Two tipical American guys with blue eyes in the middle of a mob of people in a Indian market running back and forth between bridge that separates the two countries with large backpacks and completely out of breath due to the hight altitude, I have a feeling this is how the next two months of my life are going to be... However, after crossing the border a few times trying to get the right stamps, everything is good, except Im still out of breath.

As you probably already know, Bolivia sets high up in the Andes, one of the longest and talest mountain chains in the world, and Im definitely feeling the altitude sikness. However, to cure myself, I did what any normal Bolivian would do, stuff your mouth full of coco leaves and chew. You see, coco leaves, yes, the same plant they use to make cocain, is part of Andean culture and history. It gives you a little buzz similar to coffee, but at the same time, it helps with the altitude. Plus, they tase good. NO, its not a drug and it is legal here in Bolivia, its just a plant and only a plant, and a plant thats helping me breath!

Villazon and La Quiaca are cool, I guess. As expected, its extremely small and not too much to do or see, but it is full of indiginous culture, which is interesting. However, Suarez and I realized that theres just not too much going on here, so we just bought a ticket to La Paz, the highest capital in the world. Great, Im going to be eating more leaves than a herbavore.

Well, as Im sitting here with a mouth full of coco leaves in a hole in the wall internet cafe with by far the slowest conection Ive ever seen next to the ever shaddy Villazon bus terminal listening to blaring regeaton, I realized that this is as good as life gets. Another city, another day, another dialect, another culture and another dinner of bread and water on an extremely long bus ride, I wouldnt have it any other way!

Ill keep you posted from La Paz!


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La Quiaca
photo by: PavelR