|At ten thirty, just about managed to jump onto my bus before it left... It was to be my "home" for the next fifteen hours, hence my longest continuous bus journey so far. To help time pass quicker was my bus buddy for the day, Adhemar, a clothes vendor from Rurrenabaque on his way to Guanay to see some clothes.
In the next twelve hours, found out that he was more than just a clothes merchant, he was actually the president of the trade union for clothes merchant, and would also be attending some meetings in Guanay and La Paz on behalf of the other merchants. Though only twenty three years old, he's had a variety of work experience, including tending cattles, as a barman at the mosquito bar, and had extensive knowledge of the pampas and jungle (even going as far as Brazil!). Was very impressed that he understood my complaints of how some of the agencies were not behaving as ecologically as they should. He would make a fantastic guide, I reckon, even though he feels should learn English first (always putting it off, year after year!) - but then Domingo didnn't speak any English neither..! It was very good practice for me with my Spanish, but towards the evening, we were both exhausted... me with speaking Spanish, him with trying to understand me!! In the end, I was mispronouncing loads, and he begun to slur his words more, no longer making more effort to speak clearly for me!
Having indulged in so many yummy dishes back in the jungle, the diet when travelling was a bit tougher on me. Lucky had tucked into a good big breakfast as preparation!! At lunch time, was laughingly unable to get any dishes more creative than rice with salad... they didn't even offer me an egg!! Oh well, better than nothing. Not so much luck with dinner though... one place had chicken and chips, and refused to sell me the chips without the chicken. In the end, joined up with Sara (from Sweden, whom we had repeatedly ran into on the pampa tour) for a hearty meal of cheese pastry filled in with some extra tomatoe. I had suspected that she was also a veggie, as she didn't try very hard to obtain some lunch.
We knew that the bus would be late, and that we wouldn't arrive into Yolosa (near Coroico) at ten or even eleven as the agency had told us. Back up plan was to stay in Caranavi (about three hours north of Yolosa), where there were plenty of hostels and restuarants near the bus terminal. We pulled into Caranavi at nine...and calculated that we could just about to get to Yolosa at twelve. But the driver informed us we would stop there for an hour (the bus had obtained yet another flat tyre), and I felt tempted to stay the night. However, Sara wanted to push on, and I thought it would be better to have more company in quiet quiet Yolosa.
Elena, from Frankfurt, Germany was tempted to stay the night in Yolosa with us, though her original plan was to go directly to La Paz. She wavered with my blunt analysis that, I would rather not go up the most dangerous road in the world in the dark, and when the driver had been driving for the past fourteen hours. And as Adhemar pointed out, "do you really want to travel on a bus with a flat tyre??" Just shortly before climbing on the bus again, Elena found out that she had stupidly left her purse in the toilet, and of course, it was no longer there. Very shaken, she dashed quickly to call her parents, so they could help her cancel her credit card. She was most worried about her cards, though I personally would be more upset about losing more than US$100 of cash. She then decided to stay on the bus, so she could get to La Paz quicker to sort out her immediate money problems.
The bus arrived into Yolosa at 1:30am - just as I was drifting off into a good sleep. Of course that there would be no more taxis in the night to take us up to Coroico, where there were plenty of lodgings, and nice restuarants for breakfast. Not totally stranded however, there was one little hospedaje on the corner, who was used to seeing travellers stopping at funny hours of the morning. Though the price we paid for a bed was almost the same as in La Paz, it was a really simple simple job, but was good to lay down our weary bodies for a few hours.
Next morning, got up as quickly as possible, so that Sara could catch a 7am bus up to Coroico, where she wanted to chill for the day. Standing outside our hostel at 7am, she was told that the bus had already gone, and there would be another one at 8am - the same time for a bus onwards to La Paz for me. So we went down the road to the market stalls to grab some breakfast, and a minivan pulled up at 7:30am for La Paz. Jumped onto it, and made the minivan slightly too full, so that a guy had to half stand for the journey. Luckily it was only for about an hour, as a lot of the passengers were working on the Death Road.
Was glad that I could see the Death Road again, with freedom of eye and head movement this time! Saw many crosses on the road - though not as many as I had expected. A little sickening, I know, but when we passed a cross, I strained to get a view of the cliff below, to see if I could spot the wreckages of buses or cars. No luck. And I was glad to be in a minivan, which was more agile with its movement than the bigger and clumsier buses or trucks.
Arrived into La Paz shortly before noon, and felt pretty disorientated. Main priority was a shower, and maybe some sleep. Cleaned myself up, and found that my room-mates were Elena and Simon - who were also my bus mates! Still had half a day left in La Paz, and wanted to go and explore it, but was too tired. Only useful things accomplished were deciding my next destination, buying my bus ticket, finally logging onto the internet after a week (a record in South America!) and catching up with my parents on the phone. Couldn't even finish my curry that evening, though it was just a main course. Didn't even have starters and soup!! Getting really rubbish with my food! Shameful!!