We’ve been in Peru for over a year and a half. We never planned it that way. We got pregnant while hanging out in the little surf town of Huanchaco in Northern Peru, (remember here). We decided to stay and had our daughter in Lima 9 months later, (remember here).
Now, after many amazing memories, and having made many amazing friends, we are ready to leave Peru, to strike out on the open road, into the country of Bolivia.
Most people don’t know a lot about Bolivia. It is a landlocked country located in central South America. It is bordered by Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, and Peru. It is the poorest country in South America, where there are still 34 indigenous languages spoken.
Although we know people who have traveled to Bolivia, by and large it is way off the beaten tourist path for South America. Most tourists have little interest in going there. As I mentioned, it is poor, and lacks the amenities you can enjoy in other countries. It is also a bit unstable. Road closures due to protests are not only common, but daily. Buying fuel for your car can also be extremely difficult in many areas.
All of these factors aside, our biggest concern with going there is the lack of, or distance from, proper medical care in the event Soleil has a problem. Most areas in Peru have already been a stretch. As our friend Piero pointed out to us recently when we were looking for a pediatrician in Cusco,
“Your best doctor in Cusco is your plane ticket to Lima”
Once we cross into Bolivia, depending on where we are and what roads are closed due to protests, it could be much more challenging to get good medical care. So this is a known risk.
Having said all that, we have a really good feeling about going in. The energy feels right.
We spent our last few days in Cusco prepping for the departure. At the top of my list was making sure the van was bomber. Bolivia is not the place to have van problems. The thing that we’ve really needed is new tires. It seems that the last 13 countries have taken their toll on my Toyos…
I’m a big advocate of having bomb-proof tires given the type of places we drive. Before leaving the US I bought the best tires money could buy, (remember here). I wasn’t going to replace my Toyos with just anything, so I hunted around Cusco and finally found some good rubber.
Check out the Peruvian tire shop…
While I was dealing with the van, Stevie went on the hunt for things that we suspect won’t be available in Bolivia. Staples like whole wheat pasta, dijon mustard, wine, organic olive oil, All-Bran cereal… etc.
During all this prep, we realized that Sol had just turned 6 months old! We decided to start her on some solid foods. It was really cool to watch her eat her first food. Being a parent is SO DAMN COOL!
“Daddy, are you kidding me? This is what you’ve been keeping from me all this time!”
“Mommy, this stuff you call food is AMAZING!”
We got some video of this milestone event as well. Warning, this is a video that only the grandparents will find interesting. You’ve been warned.
Click here to watch…
The final thing we wanted to do before leaving Cusco was get Soleil her 6 month vaccinations. This can be a lot harder than it sounds, trust me. Stevie ran all over town looking for the same brands, composition, and dosage that she had before that came from Europe. After 3 days of research, visits, and phone calls, she was able to patch together 2 out of the 3 needed vaccinations by going to two different clinics, four times. We’ll have to wait until Argentina to get the 3rd one.
We were all set to leave for Bolivia the following day but that night Sol got really sick. She was coughing and throwing up all night. I reminded Stevie that this was a common reaction to vaccinations and that parents in the US deal with the same thing. She quickly reminded me…
“No, they don’t. They’re not staying in a cold, danky hostel in Southern Peru, walking in circles all night holding their sick baby. And they aren’t about to do an 8 hour drive at altitude into an even more remote country of Bolivia the very next day. It’s NOT the same!”
Ok, point taken. We decided to drive back over the mountains to the Sacred Valley and post up at Gian Marco’s house until Sol is feeling better. At the time of this post, Sol is still fighting a cough. She doesn’t have a fever, but is still throwing up a bit. Poor little baby. Nothing breaks your heart more than a sick little baby… especially when it’s yours!
New plan – we’ll hang here at Gian Marcos until she is ready to travel.