2,271 miles down – 2,159 miles to go

In my infinite census day boredom (I’m relatively terrible at doing nothing, its sort of pathetic) I added all of my South America destination cities to a public google map.

According to Google maps, I’m traveling a total of 4,430 miles through 4 different countries. So far, I’ve gone 2,271 miles, and I have another 2,159 to go.

Of course that doesn’t include the flight I’m taking up north to Rurrenabaque, a starting point to see the Bolivian Amazon in the Madidi National Park, or take into account that I’m going down to ToroToro National Park (a six hour bus ride from Cochabamba) and then backtracking all the way back to La Paz (I know, insanity) to catch my flight. This seems relatively insane (especially when you look at the map) but you can only access ToroToro via Cochabamba (and you can’t return to Sucre how I’d originally anticipated) and you can only fly to Rurrenabaque via La Paz. I hadn’t anticipated either of these bizarre Bolivian realities when I’d made my original plans, so now I’m facing the consequences in having to retrace my steps back to La Paz.

Thankfully, that squiggly line headed north is actually a 40 minute flight. Flying is recommended since the roads to Rurrenabaque are windy, not to mention often flooded and dangerous, so I’m paying the $90 each way to fly instead.

It’s crazy to look at a map and see all the distance I’ve covered and all the places I still have to go — it really puts my trip, and how much I’m seeing, into perspective. Aside from playing on google maps, Ann and I also made delicious homemade guacamole. No kitchen required!

Now I’m off to repack and watch some Newsroom!

La dia de la census

Today is Census Day in Bolivia — a day that hasn’t come in 10 years, and one that plays out much differently than one might expect.

For the next twenty four hours, the entire country shuts down. Between midnight on November 21 and midnight on November 22 nobody is allowed to leave their houses, let alone go to work — you can be fined up to 3000 Bolivianos ($430!) if you are caught on the streets without a special permit. Even worse: drinking alcohol is prohibited, which I discovered while trying to buy a bottle of Malbec at the grocery store yesterday, as alcohol sales are banned for the day prior as well. It appears that even foreigners and travelers will be talking to the hundreds of thousands of census workers going door to door interviewing people, so I’ll be sure to report on my experience later this week.

It seems the world is trying to tell me that this week wasn’t exactly the worst week to tear a ligament in my foot.

I met a sweet girl named An, (also from Montreal!) who is working in Sucre and was supposed to be in Cochabamba for a conference, which got canceled two hours before it was supposed to start. Welcome to Bolivia. The two of us went to the grocery store yesterday to stock up on food — the kitchen at our hostel is close to non-existant, but we’ve got cold cuts for sandwiches and avocado, tomato and onion to make a homemade batch of guacamole.

I’ve spent the last two days hobbling pathetically around the city — mostly depending on cabs (thank goodness they’re so cheap down here) to get me far distances. I’ve seen a few of the plazas, read several books in a myriad of cafes throughout the city, and even tried Bolivia “mexicano” food — not too bad! Thanks to the very convenient telefericos — cable cars — I was also able to get up to the El Cristo de la Concordia outlook and get a great panoramic view of the city.

The very strong prescription of ibuprofen I’ve been given does wonders for getting rid of the pain in my foot, but there’s no doubt the sprain is still there. I’m trying very hard to have self control and not overextend myself by hurting it even more. So with that in mind, here’s to a serious vacation day of absolute nothingness!

Plaza 14 de Septiembre in Cochabamba, Bolivia

View of Cochabamba from the teleferico station

Clearly, Stella was enjoying the view as well.

The necessary selfie on the cable car