在玻利維亞三週，停留四個城巿：Tupiza、Uyuni、La Paz 和 Copacabana，除 Copacabana 外，我們在每個城巿都遇上遊行，在 La Paz 這個行政首府一週，就每天都有不同規模的遊行。而同期舉行的 Dakar 越野拉力賽，便碰上醫療改革遊行衝突，警察要出動催淚彈和胡椒噴霧，驅趕示威者離開比賽賽道。
可幸我們遇上的遊行屬於平和，只是叫叫口號，唱唱歌，向路人派發宣傳單張，小則幾十人，多則上千人亦有。有趣的是，一個遊行隊伍中，有不同的組織作出不訴求，領頭的是工會，中間有動物權益，文化保育，殿後的是宗教團體，總之有橫額有旗幟就可以參加遊行隊伍，而我們看得最多的是「Coca is not Cocine」遊行隊伍。
種植古柯樹是安第斯的重要文化，但國際對南美種植古柯樹一直打壓，現任玻利維亞總統莫拉萊斯出生自古柯種植家庭，他在 2006 年上任後順應國際要求削減國內種植農地，但權力一穩後便慢慢開放古柯樹種植，更希望把古柯葉出口，強調嚼古柯葉有益，但絕不容忍可卡因。
Copacabana by the Lake Titicaca／Kimberlogic
When you hear of Copacabana, I’m sure everyone thinks of the beautiful beach town in Brazil. But, the original Copacabana is actually in Bolivia. Copacabana, Bolivia is a cute, tourist town on Lake Titicaca. This was our final destination in Bolivia before crossing the border to Peru.
Besides the beautiful view of the lake and the charming town, the thing that draws tourists here is Isla del Sol, one of the largest islands on Lake Titicaca. Isla del Sol is said to have over 180 ruins, most from the Inca civilization. There are so many tour agencies offering trips to the island as well as little huts at the boat docks offering the boat ride. It wasn’t until the third office we went into that they finally told us that we could only visit the South part of Isla del Sol because the North was closed to tourists, due to disputes with the families that live there.
Since the North part of the island is shut off, all of the tour companies now go to Isla de la Luna for a quick stop before going to the South of Isla del Sol. No matter which tour company or boat company you choose, they all use the same kind of boat. The boat has an exposed upper level and a sheltered lower level which can fit around 50 to 60 passengers. After our boat finally departed that morning we realized why the tour took a full day: the motor they use for this giant boat is way too small and the boat just barely moves through the water.
Isla de la Luna was a bit disappointing with only one ruin that was newly reconstructed. The travel time between the islands took so long that by the time we got to Isla del Sol and saw only one ruin, it was just about time to head back to Copacabana. Most of the Inca ruins are in the North part of the island, so we basically spent most of our day on a boat and saw next to nothing.
Although we were disappointed with the Islands off of Copacabana, the city itself is quite charming. We stayed in a cute little Airbnb that had an amazing view of the beautiful lake. The next day we just strolled up and down the streets enjoying this small town. There are so many restaurants selling a set menu of trout, but the meals leave a lot to be desired. We walked down a market street and at the end found a large building where all of the locals went to eat.
In this building are many different “stalls”, all selling trout from the lake. Almost all of the stalls are run by a single woman in traditional clothing. We sat down and ordered two dishes without even asking how much it costs because we were just so happy to find a non-touristy place. The trout, rice, potatoes and salad were excellent and way too much food for only two of us. It was one of the best meals we had in all of Bolivia.
When we finished our meal and went to pay, it turned out that a full meal was half the price of the set menu in the tourist restaurants. Here, the meal was double the size of the set menu meals and so much tastier. After discovering this place we felt like locals each time we returned for our next meal.