Copacabana, Day 1
So, remember our plan to go visit the Amazon? Hang around in the jungle, see some pink dolphins, drink some tropical cocktails in a hammock?
Yeah, it didn't happen.
It very nearly did, though! We got up early and made our way to the airport in La Paz. We got as far as being on the plane, even. The place we were originally heading is called Rurrenabaque. It's a tad touristy but it wasn't cold and rainy, which was the main draw. Plus... pink dolphins. I mean, c'mon. Anyway, turns out the pilots didn't like the sound of one of the engines. I didn't like the look, myself.
So we sat there in the plane for a little bit while the ground crew came in and out. Eventually, we were told we'd have to get back off the plane, go back into the terminal (we had to walk across the tarmac; little planes like that don't have skyways). They said they'd have to fix something and we'd be on our way. Mind you, this same little plane goes back and forth from Rurrenabaque six or seven times a day. That's literally all it does. And the plane had just arrived. We were the lucky ones to be getting on when they found the problem, I suppose.
This was at 8am when we sat back down inside at the gate. The little screen above the doors showed our flight was delayed until 9am. At 9am, it showed it was delayed until 10am. The flight that was supposed to leave at 10am was now leaving at 1pm. Then our flight got delayed again. And then again. And then, a flight that was supposed to leave well after ours was scheduled to leave before us. It was lunchtime by then and the rest of the family was supposed to be at the airport as they were scheduled to come on a later flight (while Adri and I would go earlier; not enough seats together on a single flight for all of us to go at once). It became painfully clear at that point that we were not going to make it to Rurrenabaque at all that day, and if we waited until the next day it would leave our little vacation rather short and uneventful. So we scrapped that idea and decided to drive to Copacabana, instead.
Talk about a great decision. Wow.
I'm splitting up this portion of story about our trip to Copacabana into two, maybe three different posts for a couple reasons: 1) I took something like 1000 photos over the couple days, 2) the places we went and things we did are so drastically different that they deserve different posts, and 3) the posts would be waaaay too long.
When we finally got to Copacabana we were exhausted. It had been a terribly long day, between getting up early to get to the airport, the frustration of the flights being delayed and cancelled, and then the roadtrip to get there, that all we wanted to do was find a place to stay (and no, we didn't have a reservation before we got there; we just drove, parked, and walked until we found a hotel) and grab a bite to eat. So, needless to say, this day of the trip has very little in the way of visuals. The following two days make up for it, I promise.
Apparently, there's a bit of a tradition in the family that whenever they arrive in Copacabana they always go to the same little restaurant. So, guess what we did! Yup, we went immediately to La Puerta del Sol (aka The Gate of the Sun). They serve almost exclusively the trout the catch in Lake Titicaca (pictures and video of that to come shortly) in a variety of ways.
Now, if you know me at all, you'll know that I like my food a bit on the spicy side. You'll also know that my Spanish is not great. However, when I saw trucha à la diabla, I was sold.
It was delicious, but it wasn't nearly as spicy as its name would imply. Still, very tasty. At this point I was still kind of suffering from Traveler's Tummy and I'm sure that something this spicy was definitely ill-advised, but... c'mon. Look at it. How can you pass that up?
The rest of the day involved wandering around the markets, heading down to the beach for a look-see, and figuring out what to do for the rest of our time there. The verdict: take a boat to the Isla del Sol and hike through some Incan ruins.
Needless to say, I was very excited for that. I fancied myself an Indiana Jones type. The reality was a tad different, but, the view...
Well, that will have to wait until the next post.