Stayin' Alive

“Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother, 
You're stayin alive, stayin alive. 
Feel the city breakin and everybody shakin, 
And were stayin alive, stayin alive. 
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin alive, stayin alive. 
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin alive. 

Somebody help me, yeah. 
Life goin nowhere.somebody help me, yeah. 
I'm stayin alive.”
                                                "Bee Gees"

We got to the hotel at about 6am, just about exactly 24 hours after leaving home in Toronto. Needless to say, we were exhausted. The taxi ride from the airport only cost us BS100 - which is about $15, and it is quite a long drive, probably about 20-25 minutes, but it was hard to tell, I was so tired. I tried to chat a little with the taxi driver to kickstart my Spanish a little. It will come, but after that long awake, it wasn’t really there. It was very cold and Aodhan threw on his other sweater and a couple of blankets. I was too tired to protest, and decided it was not the hill I wanted to die on right then and there.

They let me in my room right away, even though check in is 2pm. I could have kissed every one of them for that. We slept from about 6:30 or so until 8:15, and then we went and had breakfast. They have built an entirely new building, and they serve breakfast upstairs in a lovely glass sun room. 

After breakfast, we walked down to the ATV rental agency and went on a 2 hour ATV ride through the farmlands surrounding the city. I had forgotten how blue the sky is here because we are so high up. We came back to the hotel and had lunch, and then went to visit Valle de la Luna (the Valley of the Moon). The entire region is filled with tall spires of dirt, which are left behind when this kind of clay and sand erodes. They have cordoned off this area which has lots of small spires all in one small area with trails and sign posts. It was great to see, I definitely recommend it.

Aodhan was begging to go ATVing again, and at the exorbitant price of Bs200 $30 for two hours, I said, hmmm, two hours to myself for $30, sounds like a deal to me, so off he went with a guide. The two hours went quite fast. I was able to have a great FaceTime chat with Greg.

I decided to tackle giving Aodhan his anxiety med. It was about 5pm, so I knew we had some time. I said he couldn’t have dinner until he took it. He has decided to make this hard. He is going to push and push because I have no back up here. It took until almost 9pm of constant intervention. He was so tired and I think he is suffering a bit from the altitude. We ran around playing chase and tackle up and down the steps and hills around the hotel grounds. He would finally have to sit, looking a little grey. Good thing I am in good shape and I am strong and I have been drinking lots of coca tea. I finally had to take his backpack from him, and then his last sketch book and pencil and finally I had to hold him down and tell him that I would not take him to Arequipa or Mollendo Beach where he desperately wants to go. At least I was able to clean all the garbage out of his backpack. I had to take this and put it in an obscure women’s bathroom in the caravan area of the hotel so that he won’t come across it.

We then had a lovely supper. His backpack stayed in the room, but I gave him a sketch book and pencil and a book. He commented that he would have his back pack too if he had just taken the pill without all the fuss. 

I decided to finish the evening with a battle of “you need to change your clothes and have a shower” since he hasn’t done that since we left Toronto. This was a shorter battle, and a little less intense, but definitely enough to make me question whether I am going to be able to last two months unless he gets less uncooperative. We also had the battle of the coat, which he wanted to wear to bed. I don’t think he took a full shower, but his boxers and hair were wet, and his face was cleaner, and he put all clean clothes on. I was able to clean the garbage out of his coat and trousers pockets. He finally fell asleep about 10:30, and I crawled into bed not long after. 

Tomorrow we will go downtown to book our bus to Arequipa and buy a few things. I think I want some sunglasses and a hat, and Aodhan would like to find some small cars and tiny men.

ATVing in the countryside

Aodhan goes through a small stream. Aodhan drove the ATVs very fast.

Elaine going through the small stream

I had forgotten just how blue the sky around La Paz is. I guess it is because we are so high up in the mountains. La Paz ranges from 3200 metres to 4100 metres.

Aodhan looking at the Valle de la Luna

You can see why they call it the Valley of the Moon

Each of these peaks and points has a name - maybe I should of written some of them down? The tall narrow one was called "The Viscacha Jump" Viscachas or vizcachas are rodents of two genera (Lagidium and Lagostomus) in the family Chinchillidae. They are closely related to chinchillas, and look similar to rabbits, apart from their longer tails.

The pathway was narrow and did not have rails in many places - like this part that is about two feet
wide and drops into a deep abyss. Some parts of the path were crumbling away and workers were 
replacing the path with straw and clay. 

Aodhan loves this merry-go-round at Oberland

My delicious $2.50 CAD salad at overland, covered with quinoa. 
I sometimes forget how cheap things are here, even in this nice hotel. 

Aodhan's favorite is the tomato soup at Oberland. Please note the delicious garlic bread they brought to the table with a bowl of fresh spicy salsa