Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Making Plans For Nigel Timbo

When they say it´s hard to make plans in Bolivia, it´s true.

Turns out we´re not going to Uyuni today, nor tomorrow. After trying to sort out buses (either fully booked or running from different towns for no apparent reason) and trains (blocked because of strikes in one of the towns), we gave up and delayed that trip for another week when the bus should be running properly.

This means we´ve switched our schedules and will travel to Rurrenabaque tomorrow. Of course that wasn´t too easy to plan either as the plane we wanted to take only flew on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The other airline company that flies there was booked, but it turns out that they had two spare seats on a later flight tomorrow so we grabbed them straight away (lucky too as when we said yes, another group was trying to get on that plane).

So now we fly on Tuesday afternoon to Rurrenabaque in a little 12-seater plane and then once we get there we´ll have to sort out some accomodation and a 4 day tour through the Pampas to see lots of wildlife. Maybe a jungle trip as well but there might not be that much time for it and they say that 1 day trips into the jungle just aren´t worth it. We´ll sort it out when we get there.


Another interesting thing for today. It turns out that today is the 2nd anniversary of the change of government. Let´s just say that the old government didn´t go too quietly and over 50 people were killed in the demonstrations. Our hotel is just off the main square and when got out this morning and turned the corner we noticed a definite increase in the number of police. Turned another corner and the roads were blocked with riot police in full gear (a couple seemed to be discussing how to get the most out of shotguns and teargas canisters).

Further down the road the people came, marching and chanting with huge banners to comemorate the people that died. There were lots of load (hopefully) firecrackers and the police were definitely on there toes (and the fierce police dogs were also jumpy).

The marchers were blocked from entering the main square where the presidential palace and parliment are. Instead they were re-routed down to the big main streets. Apart from the firecrackers it was all fairly peaceful, but it was an experience to witness. Also an experience to squeeze between the police and duck under one of the road blocks to get to the other side (it was the only way to get out in that direction).


Walked up to one of the lookout points in the city. It has the great name of "Killi Killi". Walking uphill is still a bit of a breathless experience but walking down again is like walking on air. Great views from the top. You can see the whole city crammed into the valley, sprawling from the depths and right up to the side of the mountains in a kalaidoscope of colours. Oh, and throw in a snow-capped mountain to top it all off. Looks great, and the air was clean up there too.

Got back down from the hill to take some money out and found that I´m already over my daily limit. Which it shouldn´t be, but maybe there are different rules for Bolivia. I wouldn´t be surprised.

All in all, La Paz is growing on me. Maybe it´s because we´ve managed to be more productive today but at the same time, take it easy in coffee shops and walking around. The good night´s sleep might have helped as well. The weather has been, let´s say, changable. It can be freezing cold at night, but nice and warm during the day. When we got out this morning, it was a lovely sunny day but in the afternoon it was pouring with rain, now in the evening it´s good again.

Right, off to get some food. Stomach can´t handle a lot of food nowadays. The glory steak days of Argentina are over. Now it´s simple sandwiches and maybe a muffin too.

Updated with photos (29-Nov-2005) - Click for pics

Police van

Stepped up police presence for the demonstrations

View from the Killi Killi lookout point


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