along the shore
We’d heard good things about the Cupola Hotel in Copacabana. On the day we arrived, I walked up the hill to check on availability and price while Matt enjoyed a cold coke by the lake (as I had done many times before in India and Thailand when he did the checking). The staff person who showed me a room quoted a very good price, so I checked a few times using various sentences just to be sure I understood correctly. I went back down the hill to get Matt and our bags so that we could check in. When we arrived back at the reception desk a new guy was there and he all but laughed at me when I told him I had just been there and the price I had been quoted. I mean he all but laughed at me AND didn’t bother apologizing for the mistaken employee. It was the second day in a row that we had been quoted an incorrect price, agreed to take a room, and had arrived only to find the price was significantly different (the first time was by email).
(As I would later find out, neither Bolivian nor Peruvian hotel staff who make mistakes know how to apologize. I have tried to figure out why, some of my conclusions include: they really just don’t care (I will give an example of this later in this post), they are embarrassed and won’t admit they made an error, and/or they just haven’t learned this skill/manner. Needless to say, I have been sorely underwhelmed with staff in Peru and Bolivia on multiple occasions, and it’s not because I was expecting amazing service to start off with. Just that I expected enough intelligence to know how much rooms cost, and to have the ability to keep a reservation, at the very least for the second day in a row they promised it…)
At the actual price, the small room wasn’t worth the cost, but then laughing boss man told us the price for another room, the “honeymoon suite,” and, being swayed by the grassy lawns and multitude of hammocks, despite my annoyance with the staff, I was tired of lugging the old La Fuma around and decided to stay anyways. We agreed to take the room, for a night. We couldn’t figure out what was honeymoon about the room, but it was a suite with a vaulted dome ceiling and adjoining room with big windows, chairs, a small forest of plants, view of the lake, and even a hammock. Even though it ended up raining a good part of the day, we were still able to enjoy the outdoors, and a hammock, from our own personal enclosed balcony, staying dry the whole time.
it was hard to say no…
The next morning we switched to another hotel down the hill, but closer to the lake itself. Despite the many stairs, we opted to take a room on the fifth floor for an uninterrupted view. Seeing as the area around the lake smells like sewage, and it rained for a little bit each day, “experiencing” the outdoors from our room was preferable to actually being there. (This may be hard to understand, but it you saw the waterlogged dirty diapers, et al. you would.) I put together a make-shift lounger utilizing the bed, pillows, and a nightstand and had an instant front row seat to enjoy the view. We got a lot of writing done this way, and it has been nice to catch up on the blog…though I think it will take a while before we get them all published since the internet has been about as fast as I can run…Anyways…
We have eaten our breakfast (semi-stale bread, fruit, and tea) at the same table for the last couple days. Since the first day there has been a huge gob of strawberry jelly on the tablecloth. The SAME gob. Every day. Maybe it is hard for others to see? There are usually about 3-4 staff guys hanging around the tv at reception every day. Someone forgot to put pillowcases and towels in our room when it was redone, there is a ton of dust on the floors, unkempt sitting areas, and that jelly on the table every day. What is the point of having four staff at the hotel if they aren’t even going to take care of it? But then again, I have been traveling for so long, I should really stop asking questions like this. It’s just like that and it doesn’t make sense and if I decide to be here it shouldn’t bother me. And for the most part, it doesn’t (it’s not like the jelly stopped me from sitting at the same table when there were a dozen others to pick from). It is just that I would like to know why it is the way it is for once.
There is not a whole lot to do in Copacabana itself, unless you like paddling yourself around in kayaks or paddleboats with names like “Titanic” or “Donald.” But that’s ok with me. I don’t feel like doing much except for soaking up the warm sun through our hotel window or along the lake shore when it’s not sprinkling rain. Other things to do from Copacabana include making a day trip or overnighter to Isla del Sol, or in town there’s an interesting looking church and a poncho museum to see, plus a couple walks. The food is ok here. We’ve had some tasty fried trucha (trout), and one thing that Bolivia produces is a decent panqueque and we had a pizza that was not the greatest, but a nice change from the other Bolivian wonders. But like I said, I don’t feel like doing anything, and so I sit in the stream of sun pouring through our window, look out at the shimmering lake, and write.