I’ve woken to find Paddy making a mess of the bathroom. We’ve missed the chance to get on any trek today, so I’ve ordered him to go to the doctors. He’s not been right for months, probably at least since I’ve known him. It’s an interesting and eye opening experience attempting to find medical help in Bolivia. A dentist tells us there is only a GP available on Mondays, a Farmacia sends us to a local medicine guy, who sends us to an infirmary, who sends us to a hospital, who sends us to a laboratory which is closed. Paddy will have to wait to fill a matchbox with poo tomorrow.
In the meantime we source horse riding and the Salt Flat trek, both of which we book through Tupiza tours, attached to the decent hotel we’ve changed to. The only down side of this establishment, which boasts a heated pool, is the rooms are freezing. It’s colder inside than it is out. At least we have the opportunity to get used to the conditions we will endure over the next few days. That is if Paddy can manage to stray more than five yards from the nearest toilet.
Tupiza itself is little more than a stop off and staging point for Bolivian country treks and tours. The town is unremarkable, but it’s the surrounding wilderness people come to see. Although you’re within striking distance of stunning scenery befitting the wild west, the famous Salt Flats are still some distance away. You can book four day jeep treks, or bus it straight to Uyuni, the small town just outside. Whatever your budget and time scale, there is something for you. I’m particularly excited about the town where Butch Cassidy and The Sun dance Kid allegedly met their end, so hopefully I can see that on horseback and take some Paul Newman and Robert Redford style shots. And then rob a bank with a Nacho Libre mask on.
With little else to do but nurse Paddy back to health, we catch up on some well deserved internet faffing. Tomorrow the back of the beast awaits, and once more adventure calls. Hopefully the Irishman won’t shit all over the saddle.