I've been at 3,700m for long enough, time to go higher, much higher, to 6,088m higher. I begin to tout around all the climbing and tour agencies. Most are offering a 2 day, 1 night package, if I join an existing group, for $150 US. I happen across a place offering 3 days trekking (complete with a pack donkey!) and the 2 day climb, all on my own for $205 US! It's so cheap there must be something wrong with it! I figure my guide will be an 18 year old Spanish only speaking drop out who can't spell "Mountain" let alone climb one; I can see us having to eat the donkey to survive. The company's called Adolfo Andoino and they have a Hotmail email address.
I sit down at a cafe to mull over my options with a beer. Anika, the German girl, walks by so I wave and call her over. We chat and agree to meet up for dinner later that night. I find "The Base, the One Stop Shop for Adventures". Wow! They have everything! Camelbak bags and accessories, Thermarest repair kits, waterproof sprays, sleeping bags, branded fleeces - all the stuff you wouldn't expect to find in South America, let alone Bolivia! I've always disliked my flimsy Berghaus daypack that zips onto my main pack and all these delightful Camelbaks are staring me in the face!
There's a 24 litre Cranberry Red Camelbak bag with elasticated side mesh pockets, a dedicated shade &MP3 pocket, a detachable waist strap, chest strap, compression straps, front compartment, padded mesh back, hydration pouch and bag and it all weighs in at 1 Kg! I try it on, it fits perfectly. Plus it's called "[Rim Runner]`http://www.ellis-brigham.com/cgi-bin/psProdDet.cgi/278041@c@bCamelbak21user40`", how delightfully rude! I get really excited and can't resist. Ian Summers, I know how you feel! I buy it for $99 US along with a new pack towel, a Thermarest repair kit and rain covers for both my new day pack and my main pack - essentially stuff I should have bought in the UK. A happy man I head home to prepare for my dinner date.
It may well have been a dinner date too for we both arrive at the hostel early to shower, cleanse and change into our travelling best! I of course take her to the Angelo Colonial Restaurant. Dinner goes fantastically well and we chat about Bolivians and travelling in general. It continues back into the dorm room where I show her my gammy looking broken finger. Well, I'm still impressed with it!
Posted by Steve Eynon