After two more nights in La Paz we looked at our travel plan which said that we had 18 hours on a bus to Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Not being too sure about how much we wanted to spend such a long time on a bus after our adventure back and forth to Cusco we chose to take a few nights in Cochabamba, or CBBA as it is posted in many places the bus terminal.
The bus tickets cost a reasonable €7 and the bus was supposed to take about 8 hours and depart at 10:30. At first we did not understand how to get the bus company to take our bags, apparently you were supposed to hand them in to the office that sells the tickets, which in turn puts them in the bus. After some running around we were on board the bus and had our luggage loaded ten minutes prior to the planned departure.
Almost one hour later the bus actually departed! But our next stop came quickly after we got moving, El Alto. Here we stopped in a street which seemed to be used as an informal bus terminal, no proper building or anything, but a lot of people who wanted to get on the bus. Everyone seemed to have hundreds of bags that they for some reason were unable to load in the back of the bus, instead they built some kind of fortress around their seat. Some of them brought food to eat during the trip. Linn asked what gave out such a stench, and I informed her that one of the ladies in the back was eating some kind of small fish that according to the smell probably had met its end date a long time ago.
After sitting in the bus for a few hours I felt a building need to use the toilet, but when I finally managed to traverse all the different fortresses of bags I felt that the toiled door was locked. When I informed the driver of this he let me know that yes, it is supposed to be locked, we will stop in a few hours for lunch though, you can use the bathroom then.
When another guy from the top floor of the bus also tried to use the bathroom the driver made the quick decision to stop the bus on the side of the highway and let us use the side of the road for our needs. And when we were not up to his standards of quickness he began driving slowly, making us hastily end the activities in order to make it back on the bus before it left.
For lunch we stopped at a place that server some kind of soup as the staple dish of the day, we opted for sandwiches with cheese instead, as we were not that hungry and felt more like getting to Cochabamba than stopping to eat. Linn used the bathroom, and even though they charged €0.15 for it, the floor was covered in something and the toilets were lacking seats.
After the lunch stop the road started to cross the border of the Altiplano, and there were again beautiful views and the road was climbing the side of the mountain. The road here is rather good considering the Bolivian standard, and it is being expanded to a 4-lane highway.
When we finally arrived in Cochabamba it was dark, but we were only a few hours late.