Thursday, 30 August 2012

No Books in this South American Desert

We arrived in La Paz, Bolivia two days ago and between fatigue of very early wake up calls and adjusting to the altitude (15,000 feet) of La Paz we have been lying low.

The ride from Peurto Montt was a busy one. We had a 5:15 am start, 6:00 am breakfast that the kind proprietor of the Seminario Hotel in Peurto Montt made for us an hour earlier than normal.. Then an uneventful taxi ride to the airport.

We flew from Peurto Montt to our first stop which was in a tiny area on the west coast called Iquique.
Pronounced i as in "IT" and "key key".
Iquique  Airport in the Chilean desert

The airport is sparse, in a very deserted desert surrounded by high sand dunes.

We had a very young child screaming non stop with most annoying parents doing absolutely nothing to help him deal with his extreme fatigue. No soothing words, no drinks, no food, no little toys to cuddle. No walks up and down the aisle. Instead they were okay with his seat kicking and screaming.

As for me I put in earplugs, covered them with the headphones, turned on the opera and cranked up the volume.

I did manage to finish the book Animal Farm by George Orwell I had started the night before. I will catch up on some book reviews once I get home. Internet connections are too dodgy to do a lot with the blog and I am lucky when it is  clear enough to put up photos. I will say I loved this book, was deeply saddened by it but not surprised when I realise not much has changed in the world as when this book was written. I want to post it up because I can use it for my Century of Books of challenge and it is also on my 1001 Books You Must Read (which I do not really blog about) and is a vintage Penguin book which I do post up. Just not this week.

We approached Iquique and nothing in sight from the plane's window except sand and dunes. We approached the runway, came in to land, almost touching it when suddenly the pilot put forward tremendous thrust and we took off again straight up into the air. I thought there must be something on the runway. The pilot finally announced in both Spanish and English that there had been "a miscommunication related to traffic" .

He circled around again and this time we arrived easily and safely. There was a small plane that was in our air space so I imagine someone would get a bit of a dressing down about not letting our pilot know.

We stayed there in transit for about an hour and I happily watched the screaming child's family head off to baggage as this was their last stop. I didn't know what gods to thank first.

We then had a very smooth and clear flight onto La Paz which is where we are now. I will post up something separately for this visit as Wi Fi connenctions and energy levels permit. 

We drink a tea here called Mate' (ma-tay) tea which is made from the leaves of the cocaine plant. They brew it in hot water and while there is not effect such as dancing around the hotel room singing Rolling Stones songs, it does help with the altitude issues which make one feel like they can't quite breathe normally, so a bit of panic breathing off and on , and a low grade headache.

We are taking it easy, as La Paz is a very hilly city and getting around makes us stop and breathe awhile and then move on. however this is day 3 and it is getting a bit better. We just keep drinking that tea.

I will get back to books and review but this blog is related not only to books but to travel so if you're only interested in books bear  with me as I will be back to them, especially in the coming months when I am not travelling. All the best out there.


  1. I've loved reading your holiday posts and seeing the photos. :)

    Mate is one of my favourite drinks and we always have it in the house, I just love the refreshing quality of it. If you have the chance try drinking it the traditional way - from a gourd with a bomba (also called a bombilla), a metal straw that sieves the tea. :)

  2. I'll be at 9000 ft in Colo next week. I know about the slight headache and tiredness. Coming from sea level, it's a real problem for a few days.

  3. Another fascinating post Pam, and am glad you keep adding to the map to show us where you are. I've been travelling as well, but only as far afield as Plymouth, in Devon, where my elder daughter now lives, so it was nowhere near as exotic as your trip, but very enjoyable nevertheless.


I love comments. I promise to try very hard to reply to any message left.