Feb. 28 – La Paz

2009 March 8
by joe

This was one of our most expensive hotel rooms so far, and one of the least satisfactory. The toilet did not flush, we had to call a dozen times to get towels, and, worst of all, the noise from the disco in the hotel was so loud that you could hear it in every room, and it continued till 6:00 AM! The ‘breakfast’ that was included consisted on some sort of horrible orange-aid drink, one scrambled egg, and a hot dog. Nescafe for coffee and un-toasted, un-buttered machine white bread. Absolutely awful.

After this unsatisfactory repast, I worked on my bike in the hotel garage, trying to diagnose and fix the fuel supply problem. I did what I could short of pulling the carb out. Levi walk around El Alto, looking for an alternate hotel. We discover that here they use a new word for hostel or hotel, ‘alojamiento’, that we were not familiar with, and so there were more choices than we were aware of. But this entire area is awful; crowded, noisy, dirty, and just nasty. So we decide to check out of the expensive palace, and leave our stuff in the deposit room. We drive off, looking for a section of town called Calacolo, where we think the motorcycle store is located.

We get help from numerous pedestrians along the way, and finally find our way to the lower part of La Paz, which is an entirely different sort of neighborhood from El Alto. Much nicer and easier to navigate. Once we think we are close to the bike shop, we hire a taxi to lead us to it, and it turned out we were very close indeed.

Nosiglia Sports was open, and we try to get set up for our tire changes. We discover that when we called, the person that Levi talked to was ‘mistaken’, and that they really only had rear tires in our size, nothing for the front wheels. And, if we want our new tires balanced, which we do, we will have to wait until Monday to get that done, as that shop is not open on Saturday or Sunday! So, we leave the bikes at this shop, with the new chain that they are to install on Levi’s bike, and take a taxi to a nearby hotel that was recommended by the guy at the shop, and find a reasonable hotel. Hotel Sur is a nice, small, clean pension, with shared baths, and is a nice change from our last place. We walked around the area, find a place to get haircuts and beard trims, and have a decent lunch. We then take another taxi ride back to El Alto, to get the bulk of our stuff that we left at that hotel’s deposit room. That area is as crazy as ever, and our cabbie had as hard a time with the traffic as we had had. We wound up feeling sorry for him, and paid him more than our negotiated price for the round trip.

Finally settled in our new lodgings, we find an internet cafe and blog, then go to a ritzy part of town, San Miguel, for a sushi dinner. Pretty swell!

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