Home > Uncategorized > Copacabana – July 17-18th.

Copacabana – July 17-18th.

Sorry for the delay in my postings. Being in the Amazon recently for 5 days kind of prevents me from being a part of the connected world. So here I go on a quest to catch up on postings.

July 17th –

We were in one of those ‘wait for bus’ days the day after going out with Shane, Sinead and Ciara, so we basically did a blitz of all the things we needed to get done before heading out.

We started out with a quick ‘Americano’ breakfast for 18 soles in a cafe overlooking Cusco’s main square. It consisted of Eggs, Ham or Bacon, Papaya Juice and coffee (cappuccino.) Believe it or not, such a simple dish can take 40-60 mins just to make in a country such as Peru, and the only way they actually go about their business at a ‘normal non-dog f***ing’ type of way is if you insist you have a tour at a certain time. We weren’t in a rush or anything, so we just sat their in a state of starvation while we awaited our meals from the tortoise-crew-of-kitchen-staff.

After chowing down, we did one last sight: . This is basically a colonial church built upon an old Incan temple during the Spanish effort to stamp out the Incan sense of identity. We then thought of all our family and friends back home and went to get some souvenirs for everybody. I first thought of my Nagymama’s (Hungarian Grandma on my mothers side) obsession with fridge magnets and picked her up a couple to add to her unhealthy collection. I then treated myself to a leather Nazca lines bracelet and a T-shirt of the traditional Peruvian beanie. After we used up most of our soles, we headed to McDonalds for a stereotypical American meal with Shane (the girls were still sleeping). What would a trip abroad be without some artery-clogging food representing neo-American imperialism. Believe it or not, McDonalds didn’t re-price their meals in accordance to local incomes (still $6 CAD for a meal), so it has this weird effect of making McSh!t’s seem like a ‘classy-joint.’ I think it’s mainly the younger kids with some disposable income touched by television culture who eat here to make a sort of statement. None the less, us backpackers chowed down on some Value-Menu options (yes – they still have that there *cough*cheapass!*cough*)

We bid Shane farewell and headed back to our Hotel to use the internet to kill the hours before the bus ride. It was a late bus ride to Puno. We met a guy from Philadelphia there, and has a chuckle upon learning that 5 of us were all assigned seats on the same bus (which showed up in accordance to South American time – roughly 30 mins late.) We were promised cama seats (first class), so this really confused us. It ended up turning to a free-for-all in grabbing seats so we sat at the bottom with our American comrade. To make matters worse it was completely a second-class bus, so the promise fell short. It was an really inconvenient trip because the bus wasn’t permitted to go directly to Copacabana, Bolivia, but was forced to stop on the Peruvian side in the town of Puno (where the Peruvian floating reed-villages are.) It was a sort of short trip in the fact we just started getting to sleep when we all had to wake up in Puno (roughly 04:30.)

To make matter worse, it was absolutely freezing at this altitude at that time of day. It was so cold that my right butt-cheek actually starting shivering *Owwww*Owwww* We were pretty much elbowing each other in an effort to grab our bags out of the baggage hold in the bus before B-lining it to the bus terminal. We sat down, changed our clocks 1 hr ahead, and awaited our 07:00 bus to Bolivia. We made friends with a couple from Cork, Ireland who were on the same bus as us, and got tons of helpful advice on our future cities from them. The town is a small one (under 5.000) so it wasn’t that big. Paul was on a coffee-phene, so he literally scoured the establishment in search of it. Upon his return he was for some reason up in arms about the fact such an establishment didn’t have a coffee maker on the premises. Apparently people all shared coffee out of one mans thermos. I pointed out the size of the town, and we agreed we were glad to not stay in this place for long.

After an hour we decided that the paper given to us by the travel agent didn’t have seat numbers for the bus on it, hence, it was more of a voucher than a ticket. I hunted through the bunch of bus company booths before finding the right one. Here I was informed that these were in fact vouchers, not tickets. Apparently the 07:00 bus was sold out, due to the fact locals just put their names on seats as they buy them in the morning, and people who actually have bookings, are essentially f***ed because they don’t get physically to the clip board in time (how can they if they are on a bus.) Hence, I was told to wait in this craphole of a town until 15:30 for the next bus. With this I officially went Loco (“crazy)… in true El Toro Local fashion. I was dropping f-bomb left right and center at the dude calling out the companies lack of intelligence. Apparently this startled the man, who kept calling me “amigo” in an effort to calm me down, but Benito ‘El Toro Loco’ Hernandez was having none of this: A ticket in my hand for a 07:00 bus or else I would slap him silly and challenge him to a western-style duel. So the man hurried off in a panic, promptly returning and notifying me that he magically found a ticket (to spare his dignity I presume) and he would me honored if i returned at 06:30 to board a bus with another company… hence me and Paul were out of Puno just as planned.

July 18th –

The bus to Copacabana (Hello Barry Manilow… I hope you all promptly dig out the CD and play the track) was on a shuttle bus. It was a short hall to the border, where we got out on the Peru side to get our passport stamped by both Peruvian immigration and Peruvian police. After that we had to walk a couple hundred meters across the border to get our entry stamp into Bolivia. We then re-boarded the bus, with Lake Titicaca on our left. We chatted with a couple from Boston (me mainly about sports with them) and two mates from Scotland who had done most of the same trip as ours (along with the same trip I did the previous year to Southeast Asia.) We got to Copacabana before lunch and nabbed a hotel with a ‘view of the lake.’

We promptly searched for the local money – Boliviano’s (only 1 ATM in the entire city which takes only Cash-Advances on Visa + Mastercard.) I just exchanged $50 out of the American cash I had on hand to get me some Bolivianos. After getting cash we had some lunch. I wanted to opt for the local beachside tents, which were filled with locals, all eating fish, but Paul wasn’t quite feeling as adventurous, so he insisted we sit at a restaurant (who oddly enough, served the exact same fish with likely the exact same health standards.) None the less I chowed down some Diablo style trout from Lake Titicaca, which was really good.

After lunch we decided to scrap our whole reason for coming to Copacabana: to see the Incan island site of Isla del Sol, and instead catch a bus the next day to La Paz. We opted to do so for two main reasons: 1- All boats to the island had been cancelled the previous 4 days due to choppy waves, and 2 – we really didn’t feel like doing any more vigorous physical activity on this trip after our Misti climb.

After this we had a coffee before realizing it began to get really cold. We decided now was as good a time as ever to get some more warm souvenirs so I purchased an alpaca sweater for 80 peruvian soles. After getting some protection against the cold we continued shopping for local stuff. I had a weird exchange with a local girl after I left her shop and she began singing at me. She then giggled to her friends (oddly she wasn’t dressed as one, but her friends were full on Cholitas.) So of course me being me, I decided to chat her up… and promptly had an epic fail. No English on her part, and my crap Spanish, made it really awkward.

Off me and Paul went to snap some pics of the sunset of Lake Titicaca before having dinner at a local hotspot. It began to get so cold we couldn’t bear being out any more and hurried back to the hostel where we watched a couple episodes of Mad Men.

Lake Titicaca Sunset

The next morning we had breakfast at the Luna Cafe. We met two Canadians (Quebecois!) who were traveling for a couple weeks just through Bolivia. Both were architects in Montreal, so we had a good conversation with them. After that we pretty much walked around town before catching our bus to La Paz.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Grandma
    July 29, 2010 at 16:03

    You sound as if you’re having the time of your life! Good on yer! Continue having a great time, and take care of yourself. All my love, Grandma.

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