Bolivians love to party. Last time I got back to town the party was for San Pedro (I think; it’s hard to keep all the saints straight). This time it’s another saint or independence or something, but the party’s been going on since Saturday, and today’s a feria day with more parades, singani, and meat in the streets. The goings on are spectacular. Oh and a movie’s being filmed near the hostal (Austria) in Plaza Murillo.
I just ate huevos rancheros with real honest to goodness corn tortillas. Mmmm how I miss tortillas, I’ll have to somehow coordinate cooking lessons with Elena so she can teach me how to make tortillas. If anyone knows how to do this, Elena does.
So the hike from Pelechuco to Charazani in the Cordillera Apolobamba was beautiful. I wish I could upload pictures onto this thing, but it takes way too long. I added some pics to my Flickr account from my California trip. They’re not in order, but you’ll notice a lot of crotch shots. This is what happens when Drew or Lydia get a hold of my camera… I love these “special” surprises.
Anyway, everything I read about the trek said it should take about five nights, but we did it in three nights and four days… the second day was killer. Supposedly we’re in the dry season, but there was hail and there was snow. We heard that it even hailed in La Paz, unheard of this time of year. It was cold, but since we were walking up up up to 5100 meters (16,700 feet), the temperature and weather all evened out. When we made it up to the 5100-meter pass, I cried. It was almost like marathon tears, but I can’t remember if I cried or not when I finished my marathon. I think mostly I was just confused and needed to use the bathroom.
Aside from my acclimatization problems (it’s just not happening as seamlessly as I’d hoped it would, guess I’m a sea-level girl), one of the hardest parts of the trip were the bus rides (12 hours to Pelechuco and 8 hours from Charazani back to La Paz). Motionsickness? Maybe. But there are so many people crammed into the bus with their wares, 100-lb bags of rice or other grains, oranges, and other craziness. Everything in the aisles, bags, abuelos, babies, you name it. And bathrooms, forget about it. Luckily the conductor of the Charazani-La Paz bus didn’t stop to pick up more people every five minutes. On the way to Pelechuco, we must have stopped 50 times, including to let all the hombres off to piss (sissies).