I am so bloody tired, the last 10 days in Brazil really took it out of me. Wonderfully, our bus to Buenos Aires was super luxurious and offered wine with dinner and champagne before bed, all for about $40. When we arrived early in the morning I was feeling so good that I'd decided to come to Buenos Aires for a little R & R. Sandanzas was fully booked but after about an hour of chilling in their breakfast area talking to people I found out that a girl was leaving earlier than expected so I got her bed. Nice. Nothing much to report in BA. I just relaxed at the hostel with the staff and took in lots of Malbec and a few hearty steaks. My favorite restaurant changed their menu and my favorite item, steak tenderloin with a creamy Roquefort sauce, wasn't on it anymore. Thank heavens my waiter knew what was talking about and he had the kitchen prepare an order specially for me. I was in heaven. The food in Bolivia isn't supposed to be very good so I'm hoping the memory of that meal will tide me over for the next few weeks. On Sunday I hit the Feria de Matadores, market about an hour away, by bus, from downtown. It was a fun crazy place where the prices were much cheaper than the regular tourist swamped markets and locals dance a matador like dance to live music in the middle of the square. I was so glad I went as it was the one thing I'd missed doing my first time around due to a brutal Sunday hangover. I spent the rest of the day trying to tackle my taxes which I gave up pretty quickly even though my brother Edward was awesome enough to scan in all my forms and such but all those numbers made me dizzy. Time for form 4868! Most of last day was spent running errands, picking up a few jars of dulce de leche to send home and the dreaded dentist. Back at the hostel they decided to have a movie night and show the horror movie Hostel. Ha, bloody ha. I had my eyes covered for most of it. If I ever wake up in a hostel to the sound of a power drill I'm going to scream.
I spent the next day and a half traveling to Bolivia on a series of horrible buses. Thank heavens I had a good crappy book to get me through. The seats were so small and the bus was packed. If I'd been smart I could have taken a super luxurious bus up north as far as Salta or Jujuy and then suffered on the bad bus for a few hours but oh no. I just had to get to Bolivia as quickly as possible and so did the bus driver apparently as he'd try and drive away from the bathroom stop even though there were women still waiting in line. A long series of bad Hollywood movies dubbed into Spanish and definitely no Champagne. My bus took us all the was to the border and waited till we all made it though immigration before carting us the 100m up to the bus station. I was standing in line for customs when everything started swimming before my eyes and I broke out in a cold sweat. I felt my knees begin to buckle and just kept staring straight ahead and trying to keep it together. I was sure if I passed out right there and then that they might think twice about letting me into their country. The worst of it passed after a few minutes that felt like an hour and I walked into Villazon, Bolivia. I changed some money and switched buses for the dusty two and half hour journey up north to Tupiza through some rugged mountain scenery. I met a nice French guy coming off another bus and we headed off to find a hotel. Wow, $3 for a nice room with 2 beds (no bathroom), a TV and breakfast included. I love it here! Rachid and I went for a walk to check out the town and check out tour agencies for a 4 day tour of the nearby salt flats which is supposed to be spectacular. The idea of 4 days in a jeep makes my skin crawl but my friend Winks has guaranteed me that it's worth it. We grabbed some pizza in the main square where we passed by some local actors recreating one of the stations of the cross to a rapt crowd. We headed back to the hotel exhausted and I tucked myself into bed and looked at the clock. It was 8:30pm.
I felt so much better the next morning . A good nights sleep in a real bed was just what the doctor ordered. Spent the morning checking out the town and the local market and looking for a book exchange. This is a very small town and I'd really seen all of it the night before but it was nice to see it in the light of day. By 11:30 I was done and Rachid and I went for a set lunch of salad, soup, an entree of Locro, a local specialty, and an orange for $1. After a quick respite we met our guide for our horseback riding tour of the surrounding landscape. Being up on the horse, taking in all the scenery really made me feel like I was in one of those old western movies. Unfortunately no tumbleweed but the rock formations and weird thorny plants were really great. Renting horses, like everything else here is ridiculously cheap. It was less that $2 per hour for a horse and a guide. We're booked into our tour for tomorrow. Talk to you on the flip side!