While volunteering with Inti Wara Yassi in Villa Tunari, I have been staying in the volunteer housing affectionately known as Las Vegas. During my recent day off, I had a chance to catch up on some reading from my 2007 Lonely Planet “Bolivia” book that I picked up second hand in La Paz. For the record, it was by far the most recent, decently priced version available. According to good ol’ LP, if it were 2007, I’d really be in luck. Here is the excerpt from said book:
Hotel Las Vegas (Per person US $2.50) While not much like Las Vegas in terms of glitz, in fact quite the opposite, this place is nevertheless friendly and has some good food served in its restaurant.
This information is quite fascinating to me after living in the “hotel” for two weeks. I have provided a few select photos as a poignant example of just how much can change in four short years (as if the US housing market wasn’t example enough). What is not pictured is the family that “runs” the place who stare daggers at me each day because of the Halloween party that was thrown in the “restaurant.”
Now, two major travel lessons come from this experience. The first being to always reference VERY recent guide books where time and an economic downturn are less likely to affect your sleeping experience. And second, bring your own dang guide books with you in the first place. Think you’ll be able to pick one up at a book exchange upon your arrival? Shockingly, a few thousand fellow travelers beat you to the punch.
Perhaps surprisingly with all that I´ve stated above, I am quite content with Hotel Las Vegas and its “rustic and shabby chic” ambiance. I did not mention this previously, but there are kittens quite literally everywhere. For those of you that know me well, you know that kittens outweigh smelly bathrooms, cold showers, and mosquito-filled rooms. In fact, they are enough for me to pat Lonely Planet on the back for their “Budget” recommendation. I’ll even take it one step further with a quick brainstorm regarding this place’s new slogan. My vote goes to: Come to Hotel Las Vegas, where you may or may not leave with Giardia! Fingers crossed.