La Paz, Bolivia
Bolivia Hop dropped me off right at my hostel in La Paz (another Loki) around 10pm where there was a security guard at the entrance which made me feel safer. I checked in and was led to my private room up the elevator to the 4th floor - it seemed like an old office building in the middle of a city. I was so thankful to have my own room that night after being on that bus all day but my room was a little smelly so I opened the window and burned my palo santo and then showered and went to bed early. I was told about the happy hour rooftop party but I knew I needed sleep after not getting more than 6 hours of sleep every night the past few nights. I slept in really late, woke up around 11am and went to get food up at the rooftop restaurant/bar around 12pm. I wanted to walk around to explore and get a few things such as a sim carda, cash, and figure out the tours for the next few days so I did that and got back around dark. I had gone to this fancier restaurant I had researched and ordered a coffee con helado and beef sandwich that was really tasty. I had a relaxing day nonetheless but Google Maps took me to the wrong hostel at first and my phone had died so thankfully I somewhat knew my surroundings and could get back to the right hostel. Once I got back, I quickly ate dinner upstairs and there was already a beer pong tournament being held with many backpackers already drunk and some still eating dinner. I ordered a veggie burger and met this girl at the bar when ordering my first beer, Caro from Chile, who is one of my best friends to this day. I watched her and her friend play pong as I ate and then we all smoked a little and danced to some Reggaeton. Then I met this French guy who was traveling alone and another Belgian guy who had been staying at the hostel for weeks so he somewhat told me about the places to visit around La Paz. They wanted to go to an afterparty pub but I was done and went to bed around 2pm. I woke up a little later than expected and got brunch. Caro and her friend and this Danish girl were sitting eating and it was Caro's birthday so we all sat together and got to know one another more while devouring a birthday cake. We decided we would meet up that evening, they went to this "valley of the moon"while I went on this walking tour at 2pm I had booked the day before. On the tour, I met a guy from Australia, another guy from the UK and an Italian couple as we walked around the city to different attractions such as a famous church/graveyard, gondola ride up to El Alto (La Paz is the largest capital city in the world at 3,659 m above sea level), witches markets, variety of food tastings, famous statues and then afterwards we watched this wrestling match of dressed-up women and men performing this wrestling scene that was somewhat comical but definitely a tourist trap. Overall it was a great way to experience the culture and get a better understanding of the religious background and traditions of Bolivia. Thankfully I didn't feel altitude sickness as I was probably used to the elevation after being in Peru.
I got back to the hostel around 7pm and met up with Caro and Anthonia (the Danish girl). Thankfully Anthonia was able to book the same Death Road tour as me for the next day so we all had dinner and drinks and then went to bed early since Anthonia and I had to get up at 6am. We got picked up by the private van and the tour guide, an American dude named Nate, was very enthusiastic for 6am. I was very tired and a bit hungover so it was nice that he was very friendly and outgoing. The only other person on the tour was a young Hungarian guy around 23 years old so it was a small group. We arrived at the first stopping point where we tested our bikes and each had a shot of a liquor similar to Sambuca. I was nervous at first but once we got going I enjoyed every second of it. It was hard to get used to the gravel at first, as well as the bike itself but then we arrived at the actual "death road" and all the adrenaline started to rush as I took in the view of the windy steep foggy road in the distance. Nate did a good job briefing us and I felt comfortable the entire time...we went pretty fast too...it was the best thrill ride I've ever had! Halfway through, we ate lunch around this waterfall area as these Japanese tourists walked by taking photos with the bikes. Once we were done with the biking aspect of the tour, we arrived at this animal sanctuary where we had a nice buffet lunch and played with the spider monkeys. It was a really fun day and we got back early (surprisingly since there were riots going on for the presidency) around 5pm. Anthonia and I showered and rested before getting dinner and drinks with Caro and her friend since they were leaving that night. We partied all night at the hostel and slept in and then went to get brunch at this really cool restaurant called Carrot Tree with some healthy food and drinks. Then we walked around and got back to the hostel around 5pm to get our laundry and organize for the night bus to Uyuni. Thankfully Anthonia was also able to book the same tour as me to Uyuni and so we boarded our night bus (I had VIP and she had regular) at 9pm and we were off to Uyuni for a 10 hour bus ride.