Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blogging in Bolivia!

Bolivia: Land locked when Chile anexed their coast and made even smaller when Brazil annexed another portion...they still are waiting to get it back...

I´d like to bring you all the first post written outside of Argentina and the United States. We officially fulfill our promise to adventure and travel in South America, not just Argentina! We took a seven hour bus from Salta Capital to La Quiaca and arrived at 7:30 am Bolivian time. We walked from the bus station to the border where we had to pay three hundred pesos a piece for overstaying our visa by a few weeks (oops) and after the line built up behind us and our paper work was completed we official exited Argentina and entered Bolivia where we had to wait in line again. When we finally got into the office I saw the reason for all the blockage. There were two small windows, one for the exit stamp and one for the entrance stamp all housed in the small migration office. We had to then pay one hundred and thirty us dollars each becuase we are from the United States, and fill out extra paperwork. We also were told we had to provide a photo. We had thought that only a photo copy of our passport was needed so Josh looked through his journal for some photos we would not have been happy to part with until the guy finally communicated with us that we could just photo copy our passport and we gave him are already made copy. This communication issue has continued since we entered, as our Argentine friends who have recently traveled here warned us would happen. Although we are all speaking Spanish we have to repeat things, have people repeat things, and communicating has suddenly become an adventure again and not a given.
The town we entered in is called Villazon, and its a cute, dusty border town filled with stalls where tourists and those who seem to be more local gather around for good deals. Tourists gather around the llama sweaters and the more local looking folk around the fake designer sneakers. The women here are mostly wearing the classic look of the area. That is they are all wearing an interesting hat, often a bolwer, and under that they wear their hair in two braids that run all the way down their backs to their waistes and end in beaded tastle adornments. They wear some kind of button down shirt, a colorful shawl over that, a pleated skirt, knee high socks or stockings, and sandals. While they all wear hats, the sun is cruel here and everyone is dark and often wrinkly although many of them are young enough to have small children.
At the markets they sit under colorful umbrellas selling their juice, fruit, full meals that you get on a real plate, farmacy items, hats, blankets, ect. I even saw a few men under umbrellas with low tables and tarrot cards.
When we got here we found the bus station and were instantly hounded by six or seven young men wanting to know our destination and directing us to their company. We chose one with a double decker semi-cama for fifty Bolivianos each. That´s seventy Argentine pesos for the both tickets, with is less than twenty dollards for both of us to get to La Paz, an eighteen hour journey. We then decided to tend to our empy bellies. We first ran into a women selling what I think are called prickly pears in English. We each got one, she peeled away the shell and we ate them then and there, juice dripping down my wrist as I bit into the kiwi pear like seedy fruit. We then got orange juice, and then we saw a woman doling out bowls of soup and plates full of pasta and black beans topped with chicken soup and red onion and tomato salad. We went for a shared bowl of soup for five Bolivianos (less than or about a dollar). I asked the man we bought the orange juice from if it was typical for Bolivians to eat soup for breakfast (it was aroudn ten am). He said no! this isn´t breakfast, its the mid-morning lunch, soon to be followed by the afternoon lunch at 12 or one. Two lunches...for abotu 2 dollars...I love this country already. Now I can actually say, but what about second breakfast? and not just be quoting The Lord of The Rings. After we ate we walked around but we decided to wait until La Paz to go on a crazy spending spree. Oh, except I got a hat!! I´m very excited about it! It was ten Argentine pesos, just like Uli said it would be!! I´ll post a picture of it once we get to La Paz.
Now we are getting our daily dose of internet before we lunch, find food for the bus, and hot water and cookies for mate on the bus.
Until we get to La Paz....besos a todos!!

Since I dont´have my camera cord and the little local ladies don´t like it when tourists take photos of them I´ve stolen photos from the interent!

typicaly dressed tourist on the left, typically dressed Bolivian on the right

big bag of little bags of coca leaves

looking back at Argentina

the women carry everything in blankets on their backs


Reed said...

What about elevensies?

Great report, Julia! Keep it rolliiinnnnnnnnn''''''

Shelley Rolf said...

sounds like the low cost of most things will neutralize the cost of arriving ! can't wait to see the hat. xoxo