Sunday 21 Mar
La Paz, Bolivia
Booking the Death Road trip
Scottish Phil, one of the lads from last night, popped up to the room this morn (on my invite) to watch Liverpool vs ManU on ESPN as his hostel didn't have TV! I'm not a footie fan, except for Ireland in the world cup (WHEN we get in!), but it was a good laugh nonetheless.
The previous night, after I'd had my fill of BBC goodness, I watched the excellent Ireland v Scotland rugby game. The commentator was South American of course, and I noted how even with rugby they can get overly excited. It wasn't so much "Goooooooal!" this time as "Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!" whenever O'Gara got it over the bar.
Today, being Sunday, a lot of things were closed up in La Paz, so I didn't do much bar check out the offerings of the Death Road mountain bike companies here. The "World's Most Dangerous Road" aka "Death Road" is the famous stretch of road from La Paz to Coroico through a winding valley with precarious sheer drop-offs, yet stunning scenery. The tagline comes from the huge amount of fatalities over the years as countless cars and trucks have toppled down while negotiating the extremely narrow precarious route. Of course the road is a lot wider for cyclists so it won't be quite as dangerous for me but being "Extreme-Pete" I couldn't afford to miss this, so I've decided to book in with a company called "Downhill Madness" for $85 and the trip starts at 6.30 am tomorrow morn. Don't worry I won't go down "madly", having had one bad fall already from mountain biking, I'll probably be the slowest one on the tour
I had originally planned to go with the much more reputable company called "Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking" but unfortunately they seemed to be closed on Sunday, and when I checked out "Downhill Madness" bikes they seemed to be good quality so it should be fine.
I explored the area around my hotel today as well, and the Plaza de San Francisco area seems to have a strong Jewish heritage with countless "Lebanese" restaurants and shops with Hebrew written outside them. Of course the Israeli tourists swarm here as a result. I had a lovely Lebanese lunch, although the "Pitta" bread was definately anything but.
A few more beers with the Scot/English guys tonight and then early to bed for the ensuing "madness" tomorrow...