Chacaltiya, Bus Strikes, and Spinning
Well on the saturday morning (14th March) we were supposed to climb Chacaltaya, the highest ski Resort in the world. However, Joel and Alexander our friendly travel agents called late on the friday evening to tell us they had to cancel due to another guest becoming ill. This was not too bad a situation as it allowed us to recover from Ram Jams the night before and continue our self guided city tour of La Paz. With the help of the Lonely Planet we visted the many beautiful Plaza´s of Down town La Paz and even got to see a few wedding celebrations and managed to sneak in to one at the Cathedral on Plaza Murillo. I must say they get hitched very young here, the groom looked about 16. This seems the case in alot of latin america.
After all that walking we were beggining to feel a bit peckish and was hell bent on sampling one of these hole in the wall restaurents that I was reading about. So sampled the set menu at Laza´s. Ordering was a bit awkward as our spanish is non existant as was the waiters english. In the end i just aggreed to every thing the waiter suggested but ensured shetty got no beef. The quality of cusine was average, Shetty´s chicken was a simple boiled chook in broth and mine was a palatable beef with egg and rice. Hey but we could not complain we got a salad,three mains and dessert for under $5 AUD in total.
I think we will stick to the more reputable restaurents from now. In fact later in that afternoon after sights seeing the main plaza which looked like a scene from mary poppins(tuppence tuppence ) we dined at large family restaurent in the city that served up fantastic desserts and pretty good burgers and mains. Shetty was in her element with all the disney characters around. The kids had to fight her off for a photo.
We sampled another of La paz´s famous night spots in the late evening called Mongo´s, we had walked passed this joint the night before and it was dead. Not so this night. It was saturday night and the venue filled up quite quickly. We were joint on our table by a Estonion guy who resides in La Paz who to us his profession was selling drugs. I was not sure if he was a pharmacist at first but when he told us to join him at a bar that sells Cocaine from the menu I figured out what he meant. The music was a mix of western and latin. We were keen to hit the floor to emulate the moves of the sexy couple we saw at Ram Jams. However, it was not as easy as it looked. At 3600 meters above sea level we found our silky smooth moves had deserted, my legs were like logs, even the ever rhythmic Shetty was off beat.
CHACALTIYA AND MOON VALLEY
The next morning on the Sunday we set off for Chacaltiya take two. After an early start we drove off into the mountains enroute witnessed some remarkable views of La Paz. Simply Breathtaking, we were literally driving in the amidst the clouds. We were joined by a mix of travellers from Holland, Argentina and Brazil of differing ages. I will not comment more on the scenery I will let you see for yourself in the Pictures.
When we reached base camp of Chacaltiya which was 5300 meters above Sea Level we began to feel the breathing getting more difficult, to add to that we then climbed a further few hundred meters to reach the summit.
My recently purchased timberlands were serving me well as we tackled the snow capped rocky terrain. Shetty did well to reach the first pinnacle slowly but surely and watched as I ventured to the second summit at 5421 meters above sea level. Too easy managed to do twenty push ups at the top, with out breaking a sweat.
Well the funny thing was I only felt the pinch on the decent. My head was cavin in, maybe the push ups were not a good idea.
After a quick Coca tea at he summit we spiralled down back to La Paz city and then Valle De La Luna(moon Valley) situated in a rich resentendial area south of La paz. The place was once a lake many years ago and has eroded into a sandstone glacier that appears like the Moons surface hence the name. It was strange walking around this place that looked more at home on the set of appollo 11 than in the middle of snow capped La Paz.
Leaving La Paz Dress Rehershal
On The Monday Morning we woke up early for our 7.30am Bus ride to Copacabana, Lake titicaca. After travelling around in the coach for an hour picking all the other tourists the bus headed off north west towards our destination. About a further 40 minutes into our journey, the bus ran into what we thought was routine monday morning traffic jams. The bus was seemingly trying to cross a bridge but had to reverse as there was some bolders barracading the entry. Our bus and all the other cars reveresed and tried to cross this town using other paths but each time we attmepted there was a similar result, Reversing back due to blockage. It turned out the blockage of bolders was not natural, it was the people protesting about rising cost of coach prices and as a result they were not allowing any vehical pass through the town. Our driver attempted many other smaller paths that had no right having a large bus on them but all to no avail.
Eventually we were informed in Espanol that we had to return back to La Paz and resume the journey the next day. La Paz Manyana thats all we understood.
This was not all that bad as it meant we returned to our comfy hotel Esterelle Adina, Harsh got to do more shopping at the markets and by more winter goodies at dirt cheap prices, We both got to eat at our favourite restaurent in La Paz - Alo Cubana on Calle Sagarnaga and i got to try a spinning Class at High Altitude at the the Strong GYM.
Yes I did say spinning at 3600 meter altitude, it was myself the instructor and another only another two idiots game to try this class. I was F&cked by the 5 minute mark, infact my heart rate monitor read 170 when I rand down the hotel stairs on the way to the gym. So you can imagine the work rate when attempting the class. but eventually I was glad i completed the 60 Minute class that seemed like an eternaty. I eve managed to sneak in a few clean and jerks and T-bar rows whilst being inspired by the posters of Arnie, Coleman and my favourite Mr Shawn Ray.
Well fingers crossed our bus gets to reach Lake Titicaca tommorrow morning.