La Paz Bound
A chance to rest and recuperate . . .
We made a call to Dr. Berrios and arranged to come out the following morning for a few days respite in La Paz. The arriero appeared the next morning at 8 a.m. and we broke camp to be back at Tuni by noon. The walk out past grazing llamas and alpacas passed quickly, much more so than the walk in I assure you. We came to the herders home above the dam and were met by the kids who were headed our way and obviously on a mission for candy or something. G had brought a half dozen dolls provided by his daughter for any little girls we might cross paths with in Bolivia. These kids were happy to have them and then they were off as quickly as they had arrived.
The Land Cruiser and ever the ever punctual Volberto met us at the Tuni trailhead and after a bit of lunch, the arriero arrive with the gear. We hefted it to the roof and were soon on our way back down the gravel track to the main highway twenty miles distant. No parade today and we were soon onto the hard road and on our way toward El Alto where we would drop off Mario before descending to Hugo's gear depot. From there we were off to the Hotel Calacoto for a few days rest and the opportunity to figure out the logistics for the rest of the trip . . . and perhaps another round of Argentine beef.
The next day we met with Dr. Berrios and sorted through the various options for the rest of the trip. We had arrangements for climbing Illimani but we were really on the fence as to whether we could pull off a 21,000 footer given that we were both dealing with that Inca cousin. Hugo suggested a trip to the salt pans but we were not real keen on the idea as I don't think either of us really wanted to go to east nowhere and suffer with shitty digs and shitty food. We struck upon the idea of going to Macchu Pichu but the logistics of doing so on short notice during the high season just didn't come together. So now what . . . perhaps a trip to Lake Titicaca and a visit to Isla del Sol . . . fishing villages and Inca ruins. That's it, we settled on a couple days on the lake and then a flight home a few days earlier than scheduled to attend to some family issues that arose.
We spent the next day in La Paz and even took in the La Paz zoo. The zoo has an Andean focus and is the place to go if you have not caught sight of a viscacha or a condor up close. The amazing thing; however, is not the animals as much as the enclosures. The condor exhibit is contained in an aviary but unlike any other zoo I've been to, this one is constructed wholly of #4 rebar. I guess that should not come as a surprise. The reptile house is interesting as well as it is a built in the form of a 200 foot long sheet metal alligator. Different, very different.
The next day we were off to the Lake and the Isla del Sol . . .