We unpacked and, as I said, both of us were in a foul mood during the afternoon after the scam/robbery. But we had read about a middle eastern restaurant called Kabbab in Lonely Planet (Postoí N-1392, Cochabamba, telf (591-4)424-9149) and looked forward to a complete feast of middle eastern food. The menu was very limited and only had kababs, almost nothing else. It was amazingly disappointing. And the kababs weren't great either. They are doing something right, however. The place was packed.
Our suite at Portales Hotel was comfortable enough, with the two portable heaters that they brought. We decided to follow another Lonely Planet recommendation for Cochabamba on Tuesday. We went to La Cancha market, what Lonely Planet described as "one of the most crowded and nerve-shattering places in the country." It was only marginally interesting. We had our delicious morning salteña in the market and that was very juicy.
Then we found the Mercado La Paz where we were told we might find a new camera. This will be the 4th camera we have bought in about a year. We found the Canon SD1000 for the same price that we had bought in LA in October 2007 for US$250. We had liked that camera but it's lens stopped opening when it got a little dent in it. We just weren't in the mood for buying anything, however.
One of the things we were going to do in Cochabamba was organize a trip to the Salar de Uyuni, "a vast, eerie salt desert famed for having some of the bleakest terrain on earth," according to Lonely Planet. We didn't want to drive there because the roads weren't paved and it is a very long way. We had seen the Salinas Grandes at 4170m/13681f on our drive from Argentina to Chile through the Andes and we were going to miss the similar vistas in Bolivia. However, we had been told about a new hotel, Hotel Luna Saleda (http://www.lunasaladahotel.com.bo/en.html made of salt and a flight from Cochabamba to the town of Uyuni when we were in Tarija.
We looked a the website and the hotel did not look as comfortable as it had been described and the trip would have been expensive. Then, to top it off, the flight schedule would have required that we stay for 3 days, which we really didn't want to do. So we canned the idea of going to the Salar de Uyuni.
We decided that we weren't too impressed with Cochabamba and would leave after only one day. Off we would go to La Paz on Wednesday.
Dimitri had a stroke of genius. He decided to call our cell phone number and see if the thief answered the phone. If so, Dimitri would offer to pay US$100 for our Pentax. Dimitri had the nice woman in the administrative office of Portales Hotel call the cell phone number. The cell phone was turned off. Oh well, it was worth a try.