Puno to the Bolivian border and on to La Paz.

Ah…… the Bolivian border. If you go here are some tips. once you get to the border you will need to visit Peruvian immigration in the yellow building on your left.You will need to surrender your white visa paper and get your passport stamped. Once that is done, head across the street to the bathroom (it can be a long wait at Bolivian immigration) bathroom cost is 1 soles – and then change the money you need into Bolivianos at a money change place next to the bathrooms. Bolivianos are useless outside of Bolivia so change money conservatively. If you are a citizen of a country that requires a visa to get into Bolivia get a photocopy of your passport with the Peruvian exit Visa stamp on it before crossing the bridge into Bolivia. Stay in a group as you cross the bridge in to Bolivia and immigration. Both Peruvian and Bolivian immigration police can pull you aside, demand to see your passport and ask to see your money – you can be robbed at that point. it is safer to put all your cash in your pocket and have an empty wallet with a bank card in it to show them. If they ask how you will support yourself say ATM. If I were crossing the border alone I would attach myself to a group going across. You are less vulnerable that way. Bolivia is subject to power outages. the Bolivian immigration had no power when we went though. members in our group who needed Visa’s used the flashlight app on their IPhones to provide light for the immigration officials to work with. As we had no idea about the photocopy requirements of the exit Visa’s and because the power was out in immigration Carol and a couple of other group members had to walk back to Peru to get a photocopy of their stamped passport – they also had to re-enter and re-exit Peru to do this. By the time Carol came back with smoke coming out of her ears it was like Moses parting the waters as the crowds ahead of her scattered recognizing true authority 🙂

After a lunch of llama which had been pounded to about 1/8 inch thick and was quite nice:-) We visited the pre-Inca ruins of Tiwanuka. This civilization flourished from about 1200 BC to 1300 AD when they were wiped out by a 60-90 year drought. There was one particular temple that was very interesting. The culture had a good knowledge of medicine as well as penicillin. The temple walls were covered with faces showing various defects and diseases in the population – we saw everything from cleft palates to thyroid issues to fevers represented in the stone carvings.

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The entry into La Paz is stunning – mountain ranges and plains, plus a beautiful pink roofed city.
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We had a city tour today – mailed a bunch of stuff home as the Antarctic trip has strict weight limitations on luggage and have a 2:30 am wake up call to get to our flight to Buenos Aires tomorrow.