My Fourth Month in South America

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Monthly blog number four. Am I boring you yet? Is anybody even reading this, or am I just being a massive delusional narcissist? Who cares, I’ve got nothing else to do today, so here goes.

My fourth month began in La Paz, Bolivia: a place that I had been excited and nervous in equal parts about visiting . I was excited because it sounded like the weirdest place on earth, but also I was nervous because, you know, it sounded like the weirdest place on earth. It did pan out to be a pretty peculiar place (it’s known for its ‘secret’ cocaine bar and the prison where entire families live together), but I instantly fell in love with the city.

Cholitas wrestling

On our first night we headed to the highest part of La Paz (4,150m above sea level) to watch Cholitas wrestling. Cholitas are Bolivian women who dress in indigenous clothing consisting of bowler hats, layered skirts, and embroidered shawls. Imagine two badass broads fighting each other whilst being dressed like that, and you have Cholitas wrestling. These tough and dignified women are incredible, and I want to be just like them when I grow up, please.

Another fun adventure was our day at Yungas Road, better known as Death Road. It’s apparently the most dangerous road in the world, and you can pay $50 to hurtle down it on a mountain bike. I’d been thinking about doing Death Road from the moment I arrived in South America, but every time it popped into my mind I’d fly into an anxious state and decide against it. But, thanks to the encouragement of several dear travel pals, I finally decided to go for it. The night before, I couldn’t sleep at all, and that’s not just because we were staying at Wild Rover (La Paz’s wildest hostel, which is essentially a building full of pissed teenagers indulging in cocaine tourism): I was TERRIFIED. I even thought about faking a tummy ache to get out of it, like an actual child. On the bus journey to the start of the road I was absolutely convinced that I was going to fall off my bike and break my face at the very least, but that didn’t happen. What did happen, is that I made it down without crying, freaking out, or falling to my death. What more could you possibly hope to achieve from a day out? We celebrated not dying by drinking all the vodka we could get our hands on, finishing what was easily one of the best days of my entire life.

Sass level = expert

The next morning was a lot less fun: turns out, I am too old to party all night and then get on a 7.00am bus. Cindy (my travel pal) and I both had Sharpie moustaches for reasons I still don’t fully understand, and the rest of the folk on our bus were clearly disgusted by our boozy stench and still-drunk behaviour. But, off we went to our next destination: Lake Titicaca. A bird shat on me and it rained a lot, but other than that it was a fairly pleasant excursion.

Once we’d finished ogling Titicaca, we headed to Cucso. Now, if you’ve read my blog about my beef with mountains (if you haven’t, go read it: it’s better than this one), you’ll know that I was kind of dreading this stop. BUT IT WAS BRILLIANT. Continuing on with my quest for bravery, we immediately hired some quad bikes and went off on a tour of some local lakes. It was exhilarating and hilarious, and the only real concern I had was the driving abilities of the Americans with us who were hammering bourbon throughout the entire trip.

Non-trek pals are the best pals

Obviously, the highlight of Cusco is Machu Picchu. Now, due to my mountain hatred, I chose to do a three day jungle tour to avoid any possibility of trekking. The trip consisted of downhill mountain biking, white water rafting, and zip lining, which gave me the opportunity to conquer a few more fears. There was also a crazy night of drinking shots from phallic receptacles and swinging around a pole in a nightclub, which I don’t think you do on the traditional Inca trek. On the third day we visited Machu Picchu, and it was bloody marvellous. The place is spectacular, and we had a gorgeously sunny day for it. We even managed to squeeze in a nap among the ruins; after all, a perfect day isn’t complete without a small snooze.

Because I haven’t planned this trip at all (planning is for real life, not for travelling, thanks), I was running out of time and had to skip a couple of cool places in Peru to head straight to Lima, which is where my fourth month ended. Lima is a beautiful city and I spent my time visiting art galleries and eating ceviche, as well as catching up on my seriously neglected work. I also went on a hellish Tinder date, but more about that in another instalment.

So, my final thoughts on month four, Jerry Springer style: I said in my last monthly blog that I thought this month would be full of adventures due to the end of my trip looming, and it did not disappoint. There have been some pretty awful low points for me this month, and I’ve dedicated a couple of days to sulking/crying/binge eating. But, shit happens, and when I look back on this month I feel like I could burst with pride. They say that travelling changes you, and I’ve really felt that in the past few weeks. I can’t believe how brave I’m becoming: I feel like there’s nothing I can’t do. BRING ON MORE SCARY STUFF FOR ME TO WIN AT, PLEASE.

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