Travel Diary: Bolivia by Michael Hilburn

Co-published with Michael Hilburn and Travel Diary Publishing.
This book provides all the information you can find from an internet travelogue and puts
it into a convenient paperback book. Culture, customs, personal experiences and more.

254 pages; Perfect bound; US$21.95, C$28.00, EUR18.20, £12.65
Available from Amazon Travel Diary Boliva
catalogue no. 03-2287, ISBN 1-4120-1909-5

The Front and back covers of this book are photos I took !

Bolivian backpacking stories all in one book About the Book
Travel Diary: Bolivia is a travel guidebook with a slant. It uses personal travelogues from people's trips to Bolivia. By reading these travelogues, one can gain a greater perspective on the culture and customs of a country and they can also see the places that the author enjoyed (or didn't enjoy) visiting. The book is best used in conjunction with a 'regular' travel guide, which provides the basic information for travelers, like hotel and restaurant information. But Travel Diary: Bolivia will give you information on actual visits to some restaurants and hotels and can steer you towards good places to dine and sleep and it can help you avoid the bad places.

Many people enjoy reading travelogues before visiting foreign countries, but it is very difficult to print and carry this information with you. Travel Diary: Bolivia allows you to have access to the information found only in those travelogues by printing the travelogues in a paperback format, which is easy to carry and convenient for the traveler.

About the Author
Michael Hilburn is a soccer (futbol) addict and an avid traveler, especially to Latin America, which is where he met his wife - a Bolivian. He, his wife (Fabiola) and daughter (Florencia) currently live in Wilmington, NC, USA but are intent on returning to live in Bolivia in the future.

Available from Amazon Travel Diary Boliva

"The La Paz airport is on the plateau called the Altiplano, at 4100 meters. From the Altiplano we descended into La Paz which is a city built in an enormous donga eating into the Altiplano plateau in the Andes. In the distance to the south-east can be seen the snow-capped mountain, Illimani, at one end of the Cordillera Real, and at the other, Illampu. The bus stopped so that we could get an almost bird's eye view of La Paz. Astonishing!! The city sprawls through this huge donga which appears to be still eroding, some buildings actually being undermined and hanging out on a limb. The upper reaches of the city are where the less wealthy live, but lower down the donga are the better-to-do folk. We were taken to the El Dorado Hotel - very ordinary - in a main street where once again heavy rucksacks etc were humped, lifted, counted to all our rooms. What an extraordinary way to spend a holiday! "

Excerpt from the Chapter: China, Maybe One Day
"After a few days in San Pedro it was time to leave Chile and head into Bolivia. We had chosen a company called Colque Tours to take us on a three-day trip from San Pedro to Uyuni. On the first day we saw a blue laguna, a red laguna, and several other lagunas all located high in the Andes and teeming with flamingos. We also saw some strange spiky snow, and a geyser that was 5000 metres above sea level. On the first evening of the trip we played football with a couple of local kids and also had the pleasure of having the school band come and play for us. My one complaint is that traditional Bolivian music sounds a bit samey after a while. Visions of the fast show and their traveling panpipe band kept popping into my head."

Excerpt from the Chapter: World Famous
"How to start writing about the most bizarre tour, probably in the world, is the most difficult thing I've ever done. We arrived at the prison gates around 2.30pm (with minimal cash, no valuables of course), a mixed sunny, showery day and were met by the prison guards, toting their machine guns and rifles. To be honest they were perfectly happy to see us there, because (as we found out later) they get their cut of any money made on the San Pedro Prison tour. Naturally.

We were ushered inside, and as the first in the group, the captain of the guard waved me through to the gates to meet our prospective guide, Luis, a convicted drug dealer caught in Bolivia with 9kilos of cocaine and sentenced to 5 years (reduced from 20 yrs by 15 years for paying "the court" US$15,000) hard time. Apparently when he was caught it was something like his 50th drug run, and he got caught as one of his contacts forgot to stamp his suitcase with "Diplomatic Immunity". Oops!"

Excerpt from the Chapter: The Exploitation & Contradiction of South America
"Our bus was bumping along the washboard dirt roads of the colorful yet lifeless Altiplano against a backdrop of forlorn peaks when out in the middle of nowhere (I feel safe in using that overused phrase) our bus came to a complete halt. All passengers aboard were hoping it wasn't a similar delay to the former, which was a logging truck versus a jeep head-on...with graphic consequences. But this incident became much more inconvenient (for us). Eventually we discovered the road was bloqueado (blocked). To us, that meant we could either wait for the block to clear and the bus to continue, or blindly follow the other half of the passengers who were convinced they would freeze to death waiting through the night at 13,000 feet; or maybe they could find a way past the block. We had about 90 minutes of light remaining and no information as to what the block was or where in (the) hell we were. Stepping off the bus it could be seen that the line of semi-abandoned buses and semis continued to the horizon and beyond. Evidently, some of them had been there a while. So the only gringos in the area, Andy, Amber, and I grabbed our bags and started the hike toward the front of the line, all the way asking redundant, unanswerable questions to locals who seemed to know less than us. A mile or so up the road we were finally able to make out the source."

Excerpt from the Chapter: Tortuga Travels
"Among the wacky escapades the campesinos have been up to lately is the regional roadblock, halting all traffic on major export routes. "Yeah, like what's that all about?" you may ask, as did our Californian compatriot. U.S. tax dollars are hard at work helping kids just say no by destroying the small plots of land on which the local subsistence farmers grow coca. Coca for tea, coca for traditional medicines, coca for your CEO's parties. Alas, because of this last use - or, more accurately, because of how the U.S. government chooses to deal with it - the campesinos are left to eke out a living without coca, and with the delightful presence of drug enforcement agents, a merry band of sporadically violent, military types."

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