Before arriving in La Paz to do the death road, we had ourselves a very interesting journey to cross ‘la frontera’ (border)! The idea was to leave Arequipa on our pre-booked bus, which ‘would’ arrive on time to catch the connecting bus at and only at 2:30. Luckily for us, our travelling luck was in and we had the privilege of following trucks on all of the single track roads, leaving us hoping that the ‘Tortoise and the Hare’ story was going to come good……….which it didn’t! We arrived exactly at 2:40pm, which once again our travelling luck was in and ALL of the connecting 2:30pm buses left nice and sharp that day! We therefore seeked out the next pausible route to get across the border. Which was a joyful 2 and 1/2 hour ‘taxi’ ride thats takes you to a very, very non touristy border, unlike the one when coming from Copacabana. Only in SA is it possible to grab a 4 person taxi for 2 1/2 hours!! Love this place.
Again our luck was on top form and we were (for the first time I might add) pulled into the customs office to be questioned, patted down, bags searched, individually while the other squirmed outside. After a slightly (used very lightly) smoother re-entry into Bolivia, we jumped on the next mini-bus bound for La Paz, which again was a delightful 2 1/2 hours on a very over crammed 6 person mini-bus. We ‘were’ meant ti be dropped off at one of the smaller more local bus depos, however as our luck was on tip too form that day, instead the driver thought it would be better to drop us in one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in La Paz, as there was potential fares to pick up! So after being refused to be taken anywhere by a few taxis, as we were too far away from anything, we finally landed our first bit of good news that day and got one of the happiest, most helpful drivers we could of asked for and possibly had in South America this far. The guy wasn’t sure on where our hotel was, but said this was not a good neighbourhood for us to be in, so would help us find it anyway he could, which after his many questions to police officers and standers by, he managed to find it down a quiet little street in the safest and nicest neighbourhood of La Paz! Which we also had one of the nicest rooms we have had since being in SA and genuinely felt like the day hadn’t been a total right off, even though there was only 30mins of it left and it started at 7am!!
Safe to say it was one of our most interesting border crossings and was definitely not without its drama. What a difference a day makes though, as in the morning it turned out we were the only guests in the hotel and had possibly theeeee best breakfast we have had so far in SA and all to ourselves, complete with fresh bread, various fresh fruits, fresh juices, coffee, serrano ham and fresh cheese…….mmmmmmm. Strange how easily your happiness can be changed with a good lodge and good grub, making me nice and relaxed and ready to throw myself down the worlds dangerous road…..