|Today we ate breakfast (same buffet as yesterday, except they had an omelet station, of which I took advantage and split with Jean. Then we met with the group at 8:30 for our tour, except not everyone was there. Marilou was very sick, and our guide had arranged for a doctor to examine her and was up in Bruce & Marilou's room for the examination. So, the rest of us sat in the lobby and talked about previous trips. I noticed that the bellman went by with an oxygen tank and then a wheelchair.
At 9:00, Wendy appeared and told us Marilou was being taken to the clinic, and when she was healthy to fly, wished to return home. So now we would be a group of six.
We hopped on our bus and traveled to the terminus of the Red Line cable car system. We all gave Wendy 10 BOB (Bolivian money the Boliviano) and she went up near the front of the line to purchase the tickets. We were taking the line up to the upper city of El Alto. The view was phenomenal, with the housing going on as far as the eye could see, and with the snow-covered Andes behind them. The ride was smooth, and we started out with just us on board the gondola. Then at the first station, two other local riders hopped on board with us. We looked at the architecture of the various buildings on the way up. Then we disembarked at the upper terminus. Getting on and off the gondola was as smooth as a Disney ride. The Bolivians have got this transit system down. And, it is continuing to expand.
We were suppose to walk the huge El Alto outdoor market here. It was over 60 blocks long selling anything you could think of, including used cars and bicycles. Or, we could continue onto the Blue Line and see the market and city from above. We all agreed to do the Blue Line. So we gave her another 10 BOB for the Blue Line ride. We got a gondola for just us and rode out to the third station, then walked over to the other side for the return trip back to the Blue Line terminus. This system is not ascending up like the Red Line. It just ran along mainly above a boulevard. Looking down on the market you could see the fruits and vegetables for sale, clothing, and at one huge fountain there were cars and pickups backed up to the fountain completely surrounding the fountain. These were used cars and trucks for sale. Again, a nice smooth ride. We were up about 13,000 feet at this level of the city.
We then returned down the Red Line to the first stop, where after disembarking, we picked up our OAT bus.
Our next stop was lunch. This took a while traveling, as we had to go down, and around and down and around until we were at the 10,000 foot level of the city. (I thought we were descending the 13 level of Dante's inferno.) The bus ridecwas on bumpy roads, and despite stripping the gears a few times, we arrived alive. We had lunch at the Oberland hotel and restaurant which was also hosting a wedding and wedding dinner. Very beautiful bride.
Our lunch was a Bolivian vegetable soup which was delicious. Then it was a buffet lunch consisting of beef, chicken, fish, a potato dish, rice and vegetables. For dessert we had a passion fruit parfait, yum.
Back to the bus for a quick ride to the Valley of the Moon. It's name came after a visit by Neal Armstrong after he had been to the moon, and mention it looked like the Moonscape. We hiked up and down for about 45 minutes seeing the formations. We exited through the gift shop. I bought post cards, and I pointed out to Jean the creches, and she bought one of them for her collection.
Back on the bus to travel back up to the city level on which our hotel is located. We visited the Witches Market, where Wendy explained the various items that the ladies sell for rituals and medications for any ailment of which you can think. Then we walked down the alleyway, stopping in a couple of the many music stores looking at the various instruments. Others in the group collect masks and found some to purchase in a shop along the way. We eventually returned to our bus for our return to the hotel.
Wendy gave us our marching orders for tomorrow, which is a traveling day. It is only an overnight, so only take a small bag. Leave the big luggage here and the hotel will store it until we return on Tuesday. So, bags being left behind out at 7:30, departing at 8:00.
For dinner we were on our own. We returned to our room, Jean organized her stuff, while I went down to the lobby to download today's Star Ledger, and post my blogs if the signal stayed strong and didn't unexpectedly kick you off like it does in the room. It took forever to download the newspaper, and then I posted three days of blogs.
After I returned to the room, we decided to go out and grab a small bite. So we headed uphill to where we had passed the places Wendy had recommended. After walking around and passing a large dance group in the plaza, we decided on a pizza joint that was decorated with a New York/Hollywood Movies themes. We each had a slice of four meat pizza and a soda for about $6.00 USD. Not bad, the pizza or the price. Then a leisure stroll back to the hotel.
In the lobby, as Jean was exchanging some money, we saw Kippy. She said that Bruce was in the small cafe. So we walked over and got an update on Marilou, and told him how much we were going to miss them. She is better. Recouping from diarrhea, altitude sickness and some food poisoning. They will be leaving on Wednesday to return home. Then we returned back to the room where I packed for the overnight trip, and Jean showered and watched TV.