This story could also be called ‘how unlucky can we get’ or ‘why do buses hate us?’ let me explain…
So the two day Puno bus strike that kept us for longer than we liked in this tiny town was finally over and we‘d changed our tickets so were guaranteed to be the first outta there. At 7am we were waiting at the bus terminal to catch our ride to La Paz, where we had planned to stay one night before starting the Bolivian salt flat tour.
The bus arrived – hurrah – and a few hours later we pulled up to the Peru – Bolivia border and got off to be able to sort out formalities to cross into Bolivia. Now this is my first ever experience of a land border, having always crossed into countries by air, and from reading the guidebooks I knew to expect a wait, surly guards and possible added fees tacked on. What I didn’t expect was to wait for 2 hours standing in a line in the sun with no shade, toilets or places to sit. Bugger.
Apparently it isn’t usually this bad but the strike had had a knock on effect so every tom, dick and harry wanted to pass through the border. Eventually we filed into this tiny office where a harassed man quickly stamped us out of Peru and after a short walk up a hill plus another 20minute wait we had got our Bolivian stamp yay!
We got back on the bus that had been waiting for us and got going feeling tired but excited to now be in Bolivia. Until 10 minutes later when the bus spluttered to a halt and everyone had to get off as the driver had forgot to put enough petrol in, even though he had been sat waiting for 3 hours doing nothing rarghghg!
Someone managed to stop a passing minibus as the red faced bus driver said it could be sometime to wait for petrol and by this point we just wanted to get there. Packing 12 people in what was made for 8 passengers we uncurled ourselves in Copacabana, a pretty town on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca, and headed to the bus office to see when we could get the connection to La Paz only to find out there was a road block by the dairy farmers who were apparently beating up and whipping anyone who tried to pass!
So after a quick dash to find a hostel we spent an unplanned but nice night in Copacabana before finally making our way to La Paz the next afternoon. This journey was thankfully shorter but still random as we had to take a rickety boat to cross the lake and as there are no bridges our huge bus also had to be put on a worn down boat to make the journey. God I did not think it would be this difficult in getting to Bolivia I just hope it’s worth it!