Bolivia. In Theory.

18 Apr

In theory.  We’ve experienced this phenomenon in other places, but on our current trip it has hit us the hardest in Bolivia.  Things seem to be one way, until they aren’t, often for no apparent reason.

In theory your bus ticket costs 15 Bolivianos, until the driver makes you pay an extra 5 at the end of the journey.

In theory when the menu says “2 waffles” you get two waffles, until it is explained to you that by “2 waffles” they really mean one waffle.

In theory, spending nearly 2 weeks at altitudes above 4000 meters without incident might mean you won’t suffer from altitude sickness, until you almost pass out in your falafel one night.

The rockslide we encountered halfway between La Paz and Coroico.

In theory there is a paved road between La Paz and Coroico, until there’s a landslide, which apparently happens more than you might think.  In theory the road will be open in two hours, except that it’s BEEN two hours and no equipment has arrived.  In theory a 15 passenger mini-van shouldn’t plunge off the side of the road in an attempt to make an alternate route on a road meant for 4×4’s that clings to a cliff with no guard rail and is only wide enough for 1.5 cars, but it does.  In theory a massive tourist bus shouldn’t have done the same thing in the opposite direction, but it did and now someone has to reverse on the hairpin curves, cliff side, until there’s just enough room to eek by.

In theory the ticket you bought says the bus leaves at 1:15, but really it leaves at 2:45.

In theory the water you bought yesterday for 5 Bolivianos should be 5 Bolivianos the next time you go to that store, except that today it’s 7.

In theory a ticket on a bus costs a certain price, unless it costs 5, 10, or 20 Bolivianos more depending on how stupid of a tourist the vendor takes you to be.  In theory when you walk away without purchasing a ticket and tell the vendor you’ll just buy it on the bus, they would not make a huge scene like you’re the one ripping them off.

Electric showers in Bolivia

In theory the electric showers (yes, electricity and water – together!) are hot, but really they aren’t so for nearly two weeks your hair is washed in spurts in ice-cold water.

In theory the boat ticket to the lovely island on Lake Titicaca is all-inclusive, until you have to pay some sort of entrance fee 47 times for every little village you go through.

Bolivia is a beautiful country with spectacular landscapes and generally lovely people.  We’re a bit worn out with the inconsistencies of things right now, but we have really enjoyed our time here and would definitely recommend you visit.  Just be prepared for, well, anything.


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