South America | Bolivia – Missing Pages
Well if this diary was to be read chronologically you would have just past an undeterminable section of pages that have been ripped out. Actually they weren’t ripped out but were never added in the first place. Either way it is a chapter that never found words, a bittersweet episode in our travels that has now settled into the misty past. Forunately the rear-view mirror does not clearly reveal the dips in the road.
For the sake of clarity I will try now to briefly re-cap the happenings of the past few weeks before diving into the magic of the moment.
We arrived in La Paz a bit broken and bruised, still recovering from our attack in the hills above Cochabamba. We decided to stay 2 weeks in the city to allow Jana enough time to make a short spanish course and for me to make a summit attempt on the magnificent snowy peak of Illimani.
School started and so did the training and acclimitaztion process. I spent my days climbing out of the city and into the hills of the surrounding Altiplano. All was well and I was just getting back to a somewhat normal rhythm. This wasn’t to last long.
Sitting on a a small summit above the city, admiring the snowy vista across the Cordillera Real, I found myself again in the role of a victim. I was approached by a man with a gun. Sparing the details it was a brief encounter that again almost cost me my life. The man told me to sit and as I did I was just able to pull out a can of pepper spray and give the would-be assailant a healthy dose of pressurized cayenne pepper. In the following confusion he shot and missed and I tore down the mountain unharmed.
With 2 attempts on my life in as many weeks I began to ask myself just what was going on here. Never in my travels have I experienced such violence and having the 2 events so close to one another I could only wonder what message I was to take from it all.
Leaving Bolivia was the first message that I could read and though it seemed to be written in capital letters we chose to continue on. I abandoned the idea of climbing Illimani and instead we travelled to the sapphire waters of Lake Titicaca, which is another story altogether.