Before we headed into the jungle, we were told that we needed to be flexible on returning. This is accurate advice. The morning we were schedule to fly back to La Paz, it was raining. Things shut down when it’s raining here.
The tiny Rurre airport has a grass taxi strip, so the rain and mud did not bode well for our departure. Once the rain finally let up, we headed to the airline office in town and waited around with the other 18 passengers who where hoping to get back to La Paz. Ahead of us was yet another planeload of people throwing a fit about their flight also being cancelled. People were actually freaking out.
It’s the jungle, people. Relax.
Long story short, the staff tried all sorts of stupid tricks to try to pacify everyone – including driving us to the airport for no good reason. This was a complete charade to clear to the office so they could deal with the next round of cancelled flights. We wouldn’t have minded a week delay if they just would have been honest with us (actually, not true, since we were running out of money. There are no ATMS in the jungle.)
Two days later, we made it back to La Paz. The highlight of the short flight is splitting two 6000 meter peaks right before landing in the city.
It didn’t take us long to be reminded that La Paz sucks. Some people think it’s a fine place. We could search for some silver lining, but we’re not going to bother. If you ask someone about La Paz, they will probably tell you about how they got ripped off or robbed (Angela fended off a purse-snatcher). It’s just not a great destination. There are lot’s of other places in the world to see. Moving on…
I was happy to find a shortcut out of town that’s not on any of our maps. It completely bypasses downtown from Mallesa and put us on the main highway south.
We continued to struggle getting gas – being charged double (again) for foreign plates and refusing to fill up our jerry can. These both seem to be legitimate regulations that are only occasionally enforced. This is the Bolivian government’s attempt to eliminate the gasoline black market – it’s a problem.
We drove south all day as random pieces of the bus broke off. Nothing major, but it was one of those days. Eventually, we found a hot springs (warm springs?) north of Oruro where we took a quick dip. We debated camping there, but decided to make the short trip to Oruro for a hot shower and warm bed.
Sometimes you need a day to adjust back to bus-living.