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October 2016

Chilling in Copacabana

When you hear the name Copacabana, you probably think of the world famous beach in Rio de Janeiro – don’t you? Fully understandable. But, it is also a small little town in Bolivia at the Titicaca Lake. The beach and the city is pretty far from the other Copacabana, both literally and in how fancy it is. Yet, this was exactly what I needed now!

After summiting Rainbow Mountain and taking a 13 hour night bus the same evening I was pretty tired both in my body and mind. It was actually supposed to be a 10 hour bus ride but here in the countries of “mañana mañana” even the most simple things take time. I had to change bus half-way, which was not mentioned when buying the ticket. The ride also included border crossing between Peru and Bolivia, which means immigration and migration. In western countries I suppose this would have taken 5 minutes. It took an hour here.

Anyways, it felt super good to arrive. The weather was nice, blue skies but it never gets very warm here. Max 20 degrees during the days and a cold breeze from Lake Titicaca. After almost a month in hostels, I booked a hotel here. Did it feel good? YOU BET! Even though it was just a two-star hotel it felt like the biggest luxury ever having privacy, sleeping alone and having warm water in the shower. I slept like a baby.

I spent one night and 1,5 day here (arriving before noon and leaving the next evening) and I didn’t do much at all – but even for a restless soul like me this felt good! Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing to do. I took a small hike up the local mountain to enjoy the view, the rest of the time I just relaxed in the sun, talking to people and eating good food. For 12 US dollar (100 NOK) I could have three meals and they were the best of the entire trip so far – so Bolivia sure is cheap!

I really had time to relax and think here. One of the things I thought of and discussed with other back-packers was how slow everything is here compared to western countries. In one way it’s annoying because we are used to good service and that things are getting done in a matter of seconds. On the other hand, I think we western people can learn something from this – not to stress too much! Stress is a root of many problems in today’s health problems and society. In the western you see people almost running to and from work in their fancy suits and laptops under their arms in order to… Yes, in order to what? Pay their bills a little faster? Reach retirement age a little earlier? Be able to afford the latest BMW which they don’t even need?

Here in “mañana-mañana-land” they may not have as fancy clothes and cars – but I think they smile a lot more and they truly see happiness in less. I come from a corporate side of work and career. Very money focused (even though I’ve never cared about fancy cars and clothes) I think I also have a lot to learn. And I do learn. Every day. I learn to relax and appreciate the small things in life more and more for every day that passes by. For example today; I’m in La Paz now, Bolivia. I woke up today noticing my bank card was gone – well, worse things can happen. I woke up healthy, and I rather do that than having my bank card there. Anyways, I have 2 Mastercards in back up so no need to worry. I spent the day with an Austrian guy, Johannes, which I met in Cusco and also in Copacabana. At the end of the day, we both were out of cash, hungry and thirsty. We went to an ATM and realized that our cards were not working. About 3 hours and 10 different ATM’s later, we finally could withdraw money. It was the biggest relief and happiness I’ve felt in a very very long time. It felt like winning the lottery, since now we could finally buy water and food. Some of the basic things that really matters in life! For me, this little episode really put things in perspective.

I’ll come back to what I think of the city La Paz. Only spent one day here so far, but as a teaser I can already tell you now that it’s probably enough.

Lake Titicaca Sunset