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E-mail from Travelling Parent

While I may be stuck here in DC, trying desperately to earn a few vacation days for future (theoretical) travel, my father and his wife are out globetrotting through Bolivia in an attempt to use up a few of the many, many weeks of vacation that accrue when you live and work in Germany. Not that I’m jealous or anything.

Here’s my dad’s report of his hiking trip from La Paz to Coroico (all spelling and such is his and I take no responsibility):

We left La Paz early Tuesday morning and reached our starting point at ca. 4800 M. shortly before 7.30am. Thus we had no problems with the transport strike, although our driver, who returned to La Paz after dropping us off, was pulled out of the car and beaten as he drove through the outskirts of La Paz. He was not hurt badly and was able to drive to a safe place, staying with the car the rest of the day and into the night.

We began our trek in the clouds and there was some snow on the ground. But after about two hours we were already shedding our wool caps and gloves. What a fantastic landscape all around us! We continued walking, stopping for lunch at about 11.30am next to a small creek, where a local woman and her small child were tending pigs in the field. We also had to make way for lama and sheep herds on the way.

The rest of the day brought us closer and closer to more extensive vegetation and lots of streams and creeks. We hiked continuously downhill, sometimes on dirt, but mostly on stone-paved paths, reaching our first overnight camp at 2200 M. at around 5.30pm. That’s a difference in altitude of some 2600 M. As it got dark and the clouds closed in, we made dinner. At 7.30pm we were all in bed, completely bushed. At 6am our guide Thomas woke us up and after a quick breakfast of coca tee and one day old rolls, we headed off for our next stop in the garden of a Japanese hermit, some 8 hrs. down the mountain.

But the second day was not as strenuous as the first day because it was not all downhill, more up and down, through jungle forest. We arrived at our overnight about 4.30pm, and I did not feel near as tired as on the first day. From the garden where we pitched the tents we had a fantastic view of the mountains. After dinner (the same batch of rolls and some soup), an Indio guide accompanying us, Manuel, gave us an introductory course in Indio spiritualism and world history. He is a practicing medicine man, using only natural plants for healing, and he is the spiritual advisor to the newly elected president of Bolivia, Evo Morales. Our final segment the next morning was easy, a 2.5 hr. walk down to Choro, then the drive over to Coroico.

Impressive, huh? As part of the local wildlife my father also reports that they saw wild turkeys and parrots, but no big cats or pythons or similar exciting exotic beasts. I should find out whether Bolivia has any capybaras living there, but anyway, they wouldn’t be in the mountains.

Next stop: Lake Titicaca. Make your own jokes, they’ve all been told already anyway.


2 Responses

  1. Well, I didn’t expect to find myself here. I can add some photos if you’d like. And if capybaras are in any way related to guinea pigs, they might be around. We saw many guinea pigs in Peru.

  2. Why yes, capybaras and guinea pigs (also known as cavies) are related. Were the guinea pigs you saw kept for food or as pets or where they wild?

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