La Paz

13 06 2009

Well, I am at the bus terminal an hour early without anywhere to go, and this one is sophisticated enough to offer internet, so I thought I would give it a shot.
Thursday was the last day of classes, and it was sad for me. I did get a picture of us three students with both of our professors, and that didn’t negate the fact that I had to say goodbye. We were going to go up to La Recoleta for our final class from 4:30 to 6:30. This is halfway up the hill on one end of Sucre, so we were going to sit in the café and watch the sunset with a view of the whole city. Only Thursday was Corpus Christi and the café was closed. So we zipped up our jackets and sat in the walkway to one side and looked out through beautiful white arches scrawled all over with “Te amo, ….” (“I love you, ….”) We had fun. We were doing grammar exercises, but every five minutes we had to jump up and try for new pictures of the sunset. And I had to leave at 6:00 to get the bus.
I left Sucre about 7:30 and arrived at the terminal in La Paz a little less than 12 hours later. I had the cell phone number of my guide, Giovanni Villanueva, and I was to call him and let him know I had arrived. He was there waiting for me, and as I was the only white girl standing around in front of the terminal looking lost (I suppose), he found me pretty easily.
At 8:00 we got on a bus to Copacabana. Giovanni is another guide that really knows his stuff. About the first thing he did was to suggest a change in plans. By staying in the Isle of the Sun, he said, we would barely be able to make it back to La Paz today in time for my bus to Sucre, and if I missed that (if there were any irregularities in the traffic, for instance), I would miss my flight to Santa Cruz … not a pleasant idea.
Besides, he thought it was not quite right for me to come all the way to La Paz and leave without knowing anymore about it than the bus terminal. I had thought just the same thing. So I was quite agreeable when he proposed staying on a similar hotel on the shore in Copacabana instead of the island, and pulling out early this morning, returning to La Paz, taking another bus to Tiahuanacu, and doing a brief tour of downtown La Paz before leaving this evening. I really didn’t know how he could fit that much into two days, but like I said, he knows his stuff. And I hadn’t even dreamed of getting to see Tiahuanacu while here.
I would try to tell you about it, but I want to take a little more time to do it, and once I get home I can upload pictures. Right now I am exhausted. I just don’t feel it. We were eating lunch in Tiahuanacu, and a woman tour guide at another table exclaimed that my face was sad, and asked me if I was OK. She was so nice, and apologized for it a few minutes later. Giovanni explained that I was tired, and what all we were doing in these two days. She exlaimed, “¿Por qué son tan locos?” (“Why are you so crazy?) But I just had to take this last opportunity and not waste my time these last few days.
Giovanni told me my eyes were red, and I said I was probably tired. He said I wasn’t “probably” tired, I was tired. The fact is that I am just too hyped up even to sleep enough when I can. I barely feel tired. I don’t know if I will crash before I get home or not, but I doubt it.
I did sleep enough last night. The night before, in the bus, I barely slept, but everything went perfectly smoothly. It is a really nice line, and they are reserving seats where I don’t even have a seatmate; there’s just one seat on my side of the aisle. There is a footrest sort of thing that folds down from the seat in front, and each seat reclines almost entirely. They also provide blankets, but I was still freezing cold. The bus was supposed to have heat and didn’t, and we were climbing to this altitude in La Paz – I think areas were even frosted. Everybody else was sleeping, I think. I probably will be able to sleep better tonight, now that I know the ropes a little. I just dozed off and on the first time. Tonight we will be headed back to Sucre, so it should get warmer instead of colder. I also am going to buy a fleece throw here in the terminal, I think. Who knows, maybe the heat will even work in this one?
Well, this loca (crazy one) is going to go look up that fleece throw and be sure of being plenty early for the bus. As if the bus would ever leave early………

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