I went for a shower, only to discover a bit of a deathtrap bathroom. While I’m no qualified electrician, I’m fairly sure that unsealed electrical circuit boxes aren’t supposed to actually be in a shower. Apologies to whoever sat next to me on the bus later but I’d rather smell a bit fresh that be dead by electrocution.
There was an option of another boat trip but I’d already been on one last week a bit further down Lake Titicaca in Puno so I decided against it. With the bus to La Paz not departing until 6pm, I spent a nice relaxing day around the cafes and bars of Copacabana. I alternated between nursing beers and coffees. As well as needing my wits about me to catch the bus later, there’s also the potential bladder issues if there’s no toilet on bus (which I later discovered that there wasn’t). It was actually quite nice to spend a bit of time reading/daydreaming/listening to music and podcasts. There’s something soothing about hearing the waves of Lake Titicaca on a deckchair, when Come on Eileen is playing, a song that would put anyone in a good mood. There’s definitely an 1980s musical time warp going on around here and not all of it is Dexy’s quality. The majority is drivel from the likes of Queen and Phil Collins. As such music is usually obtained from YouTube you’d think they’d play some more up to date stuff.
I had a slight panic about potentially missing the bus. With a scheduled leaving time of 6pm, I arrived at bar over road from bus stop at about 4.55. As I ordered beer a bus pulled up. With Bolivia being one hour ahead of Peru and we were close to the border I panicked thinking that the clock on my phone had got confused, changed itself back to Peruvian time, it was 6 o’clock and the bus was about to depart. I ran after the waitress to pay her, took a big gulp of beer, grabbed the bags and ran across to the bus, only to discover that it was indeed 5 o’clock and this bus was heading the other way towards Peru. Therefore I still had another hour to wait until the La Paz bus was due. Much to the amusement of the waitress, I lugged my luggage back to the seat and slowly drank the remaining half of the beer. At least there was a bit more of a sunset to enjoy tonight though compared to the gloomy weather of yesterday.
The 6pm bus left on time and within an hour we came to a point where we had to cross the lake in order to pick up the La Paz road. There was no bridge to cross the lake, just the more traditional floating means. All passengers disembarked and got onto a small motorboat for the ten minute trip. The bus crossed on a motorised raft which took a bit longer. By the time the bus arrived on the other side it was completely dark but the sight of the outline of a bus crossing a lake was something to behold. The tour guide warned us that the road for the rest of the trip was under construction and it certainly was very much a work in progress. We spent a couple of hours driving through building sites and dust tracks before we hit El Alto, the city adjoining La Paz. El Alto (literally The Heights in Spanish) is situated in the hills above the valley where La Paz is located. Bolivia is often regarded as the least wealthy country in South America and El Alto is one of the poorest cities so driving through it was a bit of an eye opener. Eventually we hit the road that took us down into La Paz itself with the city all resplendent and lit up. Then it was seemingly a case of doing numerous circuits of the city centre to drop people of at their accommodation. There was still had bumper-to-bumper traffic at 11pm. Typically I managed to pick the last drop off!