In contrast to our high expectations of Peru we arrived in Bolivia with low or maybe mixed expectations. Bolivia is the poorest and least developed of the countries that we’d be visiting. It also has a history of poor governance, is landlocked thanks again to its previous poor governance, and nearly the whole country exists at a high altitude which I’d already discovered does not always agree with me. There was also what we’d heard from other travellers. Before starting our trip we’d heard mixed reports and during our travels what we’d heard from people who’d already come through Bolivia was that although it was an incredible and beautiful place the people were unfriendly, the infrastructure was terrible and the food was pretty dire.
As a result of this we were thinking of Bolivia as somewhere to be endured whilst seeing the sights and saving money that we’d need later. What we actually encountered when we arrived in Bolivia surprised us. Although my first memory of Bolivia is of rushing around trying to find a working cash machine, we generally found the infrastructure to be reasonable, in particular the mobile phone network was no worse than anywhere we’ve been. On top of this although the food was nothing to write home about, it was no worse than Ecuador or outside of the big cities in Peru. Finally I never found the people to be at all unfriendly. What I did find is fewer people were as overtly friendly as we found in other countries. When we got to know a few people we realised they were not unfriendly, just not as talkative. Maybe it’s because we have spent so much time in London but I certainly felt a lot more warmth from Bolivians than I’d expect from Londoners!