It was nice not to have to get up and get on the bike. I decided not to have breakfast at the hotel as although I like all the riders it is also good to have some space. I had seen a really nice looking cafe the night before so decided to head there for breakfast. It was about 10am but was not open so I wandered along the street looking for another place.
The streets were as crowded as the day before, and traffic was as busy as ever. Despite looking for about 30 minutes I did not see anywhere that looked inviting, in the end went into a place that looked ok, as I was getting really hungry. I ordered what I thought was a toasted sandwich, and ended up with a stale bun with cooked chicken and lettuce. I have a no chicken rule when eating out as I can never be sure how it is cooked and stored, but I was hungry so ate it.
After this I looked around for a while. La Paz, like some of the other areas we have been in, has clusters shops together, like 15 shops where you can buy football clothes, 10 hardware shops, 11 spice shops etc. The Bolivians also believe that Alpaca foetuses protect your home from evil spirits, so there was a line of shops with those dangling from the rafters. I had a smile to myself imagining explaining to MAF why I was bringing one of those back into New Zealand.
As part of my lack of serious preparation for the trip I had assumed it would be mostly warm, so I had bought a two season sleeping bag with me, whilst I really need a four seasons. Plus my new cycling rain jacket that is meant to be water proof isn’t. So I have decided to buy an alpaca blanket, plus a new rain jacket. I am also on the lookout for a new daily bag as I have had enough of the daily struggle with frozen hands closing the clips. I got a blanket easily, but it took a while to find a jacket and bag. Lots of stores were selling outdoor gear, but no cyclists shops. In the end I got a red Gore-Tex jacket, and a new 90 litre bag.
When I got back to the hotel I transferred my daily stuff into the new bag (which is a different shape and has a zip instead of clips) but it still doesn’t fit! We were told we can only have 2 x 90 litre bags but we have too much gear to fit! Talking to a few of the other riders during the day they have upgraded during the trip to 110 litre bags. So I will take the bag back to the shop and swap for the next size up. Later in the day the shop is shut for siesta, so I will go back tomorrow.
I spent the afternoon doing my new favourite pastime: dozing and catching up on emails. Then off to the halfway barbeque that night. The barbeque was at a hotel down the road where the TDA staff are staying. A number of riders had gone off to do a ride called The Death Road, so we were eating at 9pm to give them time to get back.
It was good to have a celebration but most people are pretty tired, so it ended pretty much as soon as we had eaten. A few younger riders headed off to find some night life.
After the barbeque, heading down in the lift, I could feel another attack of gastro so headed up to my hotel and room as quickly as I could. Given the altitude of La Paz and my current asthma I get breathless very quickly, but thankfully got back to the room in time. Tomorrow I need to go to a clinic and get checked out.