Took the 730am bus from Peru to Copacabana. Nothing particularly eventful during the bus trip although I was uncertain what would happened at the border crossing, even though I don’t hold a US passport. I already had my visa, but was wondering whether the Bolivian immigration will still ask for money nonetheless (which apparently is asked of US passport holders).
Turns out my worry was for nothing although the guy at the immigration read every word on the visa, as if reading one for the first time. My bus seatmate thought the immigration guy was giving me problems but I am quite used to people not being very familiar with my passport.
Reached Copacabana without a hotel booking, and randomly chose one that was going for US$10 per night. Spent the whole afternoon walking down the hills and strolling down the beach and had the typical trucha a la plancha (grilled trout) for lunch. This is my third trout in a week!
The beach – that is, if you can call the sandy area by a lake that – is lined with eateries, and parked with – horrors of horrors – swan boats! Haven’t seen those since the last time I was at Genting Highlands. Apart from that, Copacabana feels like the mediterrenean (excluding the night chill), as one tourist commented.
Nothing happening much in the afternoon, except that there was wedding celebration happening by the beach, with party guests dancing to live band and vocals. Sat in the sun and ogled at the private party.
Walked around the tiny town and came across its most magnificent building, the cathedral with moorish design. Copacabana is most famous for the statue of the virgin housed in this cathedral, drawing tonnes of visitors during pilgrammage season. Apparently the more famous Copacabana in Brazil is named after this tiny sleepy town because of its religious significance.
In front of the cathedral, are lined with cars adorned with flowers (I read somewhere this is to bless new cars), and stalls selling religious paraphernelia.
Also walked around the market and bought giant popcorns and porotos tostados (toasted beans), typical local snacks.
After walking around so much – very slowly – and burning some time at an internet cafe (don’t have high expectations of speed in this small town, nor cheap internet for that matter. It’s 10Bs per hour which is about US$1.20! So far, have not had to pay more than US$0.80 per hour during my trip), I still had time to kill. Decided to tackle the Cerro Calvario, or Calvary Hill, where the pilgrims would normally go. It’s a steep climb and isn’t easier at this altitude, but after passing many crosses, finally I reached the top, at 3,966m above sea level!
From up here, far away from the dust, Copacabana is really lovely, with the glowing sun shining strong, about to set against the horizon of the vast Titicaca lake. And in the opposite direction, the full moon is reflected in full bloom. With a wonderful view like this, no wonder the ancient people revered the sun and moon, and hence two islands on Titicaca lake called Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna.
Am quite glad that I decided to take it easy and stay in Copacabana instead of rushing off to tour the islands.