Day 126 Copacabana to Oruro January 8
I woke up to the sound of very hard rain instead of roosters. It even snowed for awhile. Trevor was feeling ill and wanted to stay another day but I needed to get going. He was so sick that I just let him sleep and left without saying goodbye.
There is about a 40km ride to the little town of San Pedro de Tiquina where you need to catch a ferry to the other side at San Pablo de Tiquina. It was really cold and there was still some snow on the highway which I needed to dodge.
These wooden barges are constantly ferrying vehicles across the lake and are plentiful.
Lake Titicaca from the other side
I re-fuelled at a little station on the other side. Buying gas in Bolivia is unique because they want to prevent non Bolivians from paying the cheap price. So after waiting for half a dozen guys with boat gas tanks I got my fuel for 5 Bolivianos per litre ($0.80). The local price is 3.74 B per litre ($0.54) so I wasn’t too concerned about the cost. Well, I got a deal at that place because the next time I got gas I was charged 9.75B ($1.49). I tried to tell the guy I only paid 5B but he insisted 9.75 was the price so I paid it. I discovered the next day he ripped me off by 1B per liter. More on that later.
I arrived in La Paz thinking I’d stay the night if I could find the hostel I had in my GPS. I couldn’t find it so I headed to the road out of town thinking I’d find a hotel. The short time I was in La Paz left me with a bad taste. It’s nice to look at from a distance, all over hills and valleys, but confusing up close. An illegal U-turn got me an angry scolding from a traffic cop. I also had a cold coming on strong and the terrible weather had me in a foul mood. This is when I found out the high price of gas and could not find a hotel. So I decided to push on to Oruro 200km away. It turned out to be a good call because I made up some more precious time. But I was not impressed with Bolivia so far. The Altiplano is huge and the wind fiercely cold. The road is straight and plagued with construction. Get me the heck out of here was in my mind, so much so that I was speeding and got caught going 120 in an 80 zone. This earned me another scolding but no ticket.
In Oruro I headed for the city center and was pulled over for a police inspection. They only wanted to see my driver’s license and they were interested in my journey. They gave me directions to the bus terminal where there are hotels. On my way there and lost I heard a voice behind me say Bonjour! I man on a motorcycle had seen my Canada flag and was smiling away. I stopped him and asked for directions but he insisted I follow him. He had spent some time in Montreal and wanted to help a Canadian out. He had his wife on the back of the bike and she was a good sport about the whole thing. I followed to a hotel but they had no wifi so he led me to another but they had no parking. I told him don’t worry about it but he wanted to help so we tried a bunch more but either the price was too high or no wifi. Eventually he left me to my own devices and I found a nice place for $26 including a buffet breakfast.