Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What a Treat ... Pleasant Surprises in Bolivia

We are now in Copacabana, Bolivia, the original Copacabana (Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana came later). Bolivia has treated us well so far, well, besides charging us $135 each because we have United States citizenship. But they say it's reciprocity fees ... I guess the U.S. charges Bolivians an arm and a leg to enter into the best country in the world (*note sarcasm). Monica has dual citizenship with Romania, and Romanians don't have to pay anything to enter Bolivia (like almost every single other country in the world), so Monica tried to enter with her Romanian passport. Unfortunately, since she used her U.S. passport to enter/exit Peru, they made her use that passport to enter Bolivia, and thus the fees ensued. Anyway, after a long day of struggling in Puno trying to figure out the visa situation, we made it to Copacabana, where we'd find our next home away from home.

The Peru-Bolivia border.
The first thing we saw as we entered Bolivia. Cool sign.
Looks just like Peru so far.

That logo on the left reminds me of Star Trek.

Again: Juxtaposition of natural beauty and what humans are capable of. The town smelled like sewage when we arrived.

Framing the photo makes a world of difference.

Sunset from our new home: Las Olas Hostel, the best place on Earth.

The night couldn't have been any better. Kitties?! Yes, two adorable little kitties that crawled into my lap.

Day two in Copacabana: Yes, this might not be very tasteful, but I was taking a photo
of the bus, I swear. That kid just happened to be taking a leak at the same time.

They love their trucha (trout) here. You can pretty much order it at any restaurant in town.
You can't really tell from these photos, but Copacabana has a real hippie vibe. Basically, if you're not Bolivian, you're a hippie here. Monica and I stick out for sure. (We're hippies at heart, but just don't display it with dreads and jangles and baggy pants. But who knows what we'll look like five months from now...) It also helps that the Bolivian flag's colors are the traditional rasta green, yellow and red.

Speaks for itself. Totally made my day...

Women selling things on the street. Their clothing style is basically the same as in Peru,
except they are ever so slightly more modern than in Peru.

Right as we noticed this doll for sale on the street corner and Monica picked it up, I saw a woman smiling and sort of sneering as she walked by. Upon closer analysis, we realized this doll was a miniature version of the woman! It's hard to see, but the woman is dead center in this photo. I got my camera out as quick as I could to try to get them both in the photo, but I was a little slow on the draw.

Just a baby leg in the middle of the street, amongst a bunch of other trash.

This homeowner couldn't get his hands on barbed wire.

And finally, back to our little respite at Las Olas.

Las Olas is seriously one of the coolest places I've ever stayed. Monica and I have our own private mud-brick building, two levels, with hammocks on the top level, two enormous beds, a fireplace, windows overlooking Lake Titikaka, a small kitchenette and our own private outdoor patio with more hammocks and nooks to hang out in. We lucked out because the owner couldn't find my original reservation upon arrival, so he let us stay in the suite that's being repainted. Because of the inconvenience, he gave us a discount for the three nights we'll be here, which averages $15/night each. He also owns an amazing restaurant down the way, where we've had dinner and breakfast. He is an artist and designed everything himself, so we keep noticing little details here and there, and we're just amazed by it all. We have one more night here ... I don't want to leave!