BootsnAll Travel Network

Day 296 Tupiza, Bolivia: Hop along Steve and Gabriella.

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The train pulled in at the ungodly hour of 5am and then forced us out as it had one more stop to go. I woke up feeling fairly good with a shower being the only necessity. The Oreos and apple I had leftover from the tour really hit the spot.

Surprisingly, there were a couple of young touts working the trains looking for backpackers needing hostels. One grabbed me and we were off. He took me down the road with the promise of a nice hostel for $20B. When we got there, the place was booked with a bunch of Israelis. On the way back to another hostel, we ran into a girl with a tout who also went to a hostel which was full. Together we walked to another hostel. This one had a double room with bathroom so we decided to share it. It was a bit expensive at $30B each, but it was nice and it included a bathroom with a hot shower. I took a shower while she jumped into bed. The shower was heaven. I could feel the different layers of muck oozing off. In bed it was coming on six and I wasn’t feeling super tired, but I fell fast asleep.

Around 9am, I woke up and headed out to stretch my legs and take advantage of the sun that was pouring through the curtains. It was a beautiful day, and in sunlight, we were in a very nice Hostel which had a nice common area, a kitchen, and a free breakfast. The front office was also a tour agency so the manager hit me up if I was interested in doing something. I knew the area was famous for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (where they were killed), so a quick tour of horse back riding sounded good. He gave me some quick prices and destinations. I had my breakfast of tea and bread. While hanging out in front, the girl came out and asked about tours. She was interested in doing a horse tour, so we agreed to check out some other agencies to get a good price. She was bike riding down South America and was on a budget. I liked that right away that she had an adventurous spirit. She needed to get some money, so I went along with her. We went to the only bank in town where she realized that she did not have her bank card. She got mighty distressed as you might imagine. She knew that she had it in Potosi and that she must have left it in the atm machine there. When she started to get a bit panicky, I stepped in with my management skills and started assuring her things would be okay and all the different options that she had. So after a couple hours of internet, phone calls, and a lot of connections, she got through to the bank and they were able to shift her money to the visa account that she still had the card for. With that off her shoulders, everything was back to being grand. At that point we finally, acquainted ourselves by telling each other who we were.

With Gabriela in a much better mood we went back to tour hunting and got the pricing information we needed. We found a better price than the hotels so we went back and told him. He said no problem and set us up for the tour. We would leave in a couple of hours for a three hour tour to the canyons.

The horse tour started with a walk around the corner which looked like a regular house but which actually had our horses waiting for us. Both of us had ridden horses before, but it had been a while for the both of us. My horse was named Espirit and was five years old. Gabs horse was 10 and a little gray. We got the basics and then we were off. The ride was very nice once we got outside the city. The canyons were a bright red and there were lots of rock formations to check out. I was fairly surprised that the horses were actually well trained and would actually gallop if you gave the right signals. I had a lot more fun once I knew I could get a good gallop every once in a while. Plus, the guide was pretty much incoherent to the fact that I was on the tour with the pretty blonde, so I got used to riding alone.

Three hours was plenty of riding for the time being. We both had a bit of a saddle sore in the end, but it wasn’t so bad as to leave any marks. Once we got back, we went our seperate ways. I figured I would do my usual walk around and pick up some fruits for a healthy lunch. I found the fruit area and picked up some apples, nectarines, pears, avocadoes, and bread. I was also out of Fanta, so I grabbed my usual bottle. Back at the hostel, Gabriela had the same thoughts and went and picked up some cheese, butter, and sweet spread for some sandwiches. It worked out perfectly because she had forgotten bread and I had picked up a bag. We finally had a chance to hang out and just tell each other what we were up to.

We pretty much hung out for the rest of the evening and then went out for some pasta since we were both craving it. We stopped in the first restaurant we came to and sitting there was John, the Australian house builder. They had just got in from the fourth day of the Salar tour. He said they had a long day as well, but it was incredible like the first three days. We talked and chatted for a while with me being the mediador as Gabriela spoke French primarily (French Canadian), Spanish, and basic English. With John’s Australian accent they had a fun time communicating. After dinner it was some internet and then to bed for the second time that day.


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