A short climb out of Juli, and then the road rolled slightly, but nothing to get too concerned about. The town of Pomata looked to have an interesting church as I cycled by.
My first criticism, is of the constant use of the word Gringo as I cycle past small villages and fields. Even in the most remote stretch of road, it would not be unusual to hear a random call of Gringo come wafting down from some field. To start off with, I found this amusing, but after a few months of cycling through Peru, it had started to wear a bit thin. Although there is no malice behind the word, words still have power and connotations, and at the end of the day, why could they not just call down “Amigo” instead?
My second criticism, is the constant use of the horn by motor vehicle drivers. If they are coming up from behind, sure, sound the horn and let me know they are coming. But when I am resting at the side of the road, eating a banana, why am I such a fascinating sight that everyone must sound their horn. If they were waving at the same time, then I could understand it, but they don’t. It’s a bit like the Gringo thing – I just don’t understand why they are doing it, and what they get out of it. Its not a big deal, but when every vehicle that goes by on either side sounds their horn, and you throw in a few dozen Gringo shouts into the mix per day, it’s a touch irritating.
I think if I had cycled through Peru quicker, then the negative points would not have become so prominent, but after a few months of cycling some quite challenging roads through the Andes, they had started to stick out by the end. If I were to create my perfect cycling county, then I would replace the population with the people of Sudan, and I think the perfect mix of friendly, welcoming folks and ideal cycling countryside would be achieved.
Anyway, I seem to have become sidetracked somewhat…
So, onto the border, and I was stamped quickly out of Peru, as there were no other people crossing when I did. A short cycle uphill, and I was in Bolivia.
The entry process into Bolivia was a breeze, and I was given a 30 day visa. This should be more than adequate, but if for some reason I should need to extend it, I believe that it is possible to do so up to 90 days.
With the formalities quickly taken care of, and having swapped what little Soles I had into Bolivianos, it was a short 8km or so ride to Copacabana.
I couldn’t help but think when I first saw Copacabana nestled between a couple of hills and the blue waters of Lake Titicaca , that I was near the Mediterranean. With the sun shining, and being unable to see the opposite side of the lake, it took some reminding that I wasn’t by the ocean, but was high up in the Andes at 3800 metres… or nearly 13,000 feet.
I glided down into the town, and as luck would have it, met Heidi on the street, where she guided me to the hostal that we would be staying at. Great value, nice and clean, and superb hot water!
Checking my email at night, I had been given a project that I had bid on through freelancer.com, which involved writing 15 articles of 1000 words each. The money is not the greatest, but what I was aiming for from this project was to get a great review, and then get more jobs. If I could fit this in with my cycling, it would be a great way to help finance my travels.