I hailed a taxi, climbed into the back seat, leaned over, put my fare beside the driver, told him to take me to the bus terminal for transport to Copacabana (buso terminalo Copacabana) and then we were off. Racing; climbing up the cavernous canyon, adventure seekers on a high, the driver wanted to talk.
“Where are you from?” he queried.
As he had never heard of New Zealand, I back-peddled and told him I was from Australia. He made the motion of a boxing kangaroo.
“Yeah, they are all thugs and deadbeats” I agreed.
Still uphill we climbed, following the trail of other taxis, until destination B was reached, a line of buses stationed on the curb. My research had told me the bus terminal was in town but now here I was, looking down upon the city of La Paz, the city of headaches and heartbreaks.
But we had recovered quickly and with my suspicions eased, I handed the driver a few extra Bolivias for his troubles. He got out of the taxi and told the driver of the bus to Copacabana to:
Take your pick. The outcome is still usually the same.
Having passed a white topped mountain range the bus now stopped at what could be construed as a lake. Ahead of schedule, to say the lake seemed small compared to what I had read about Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America, would be an understatement. So we were not there yet. Or were we?
Everyone got off the bus and the passengers started walking away, leaving me behind. I was told to follow them but I was stubborn. My belongings were still on the bus. I was not leaving the bus or my belongings behind.
I followed the bus onto a wooden barge and across the lake we proceeded, local boys pushing the flotilla with long wooden poles; as in days gone by when we were been chased by dark knights of the realm, escaping with the minimalist of margins, their wild horses screaming in frustrated agony.
Those in the know (i.e. all the other passengers) had taken a separate, safer boat. After paying the local boys an extortionist's fee, I rejoined the other passengers, back aboard the bus, and we proceeded onwards towards Copacabana.
Fresh trout and chips for dinner, sitting in Copacabana on the shore of Lake Titicaca, I could eat this meal a few times more over the next few days. Elevation 3800 metes, I needed to get higher and that night I climbed Cerro Calvario, a hill, for some sights of this rural tourist city.
I had arrived. But unfortunately I still had to climb back down in the dark.