Escape from La Paz!

I hammered the car toward the boat, getting waved down halfway by a guy who was yelling at me. He looked at the plate, confirmed it was on his list, and yelled at me to go. Slammed it back into gear and nailed the brakes as a second guy waved me down immediately before the ramp – he needed tickets. “James?” “Si!” He looked confused and handed me a ticket that said “Jonathan Murphy” on it. I flipped through the tickets and realized my mistake – one packet had my ticket and the car’s ticket, the other had Murphy’s ticket. I had given him his stub, not his actual ticket. My jaw dropped as I realized I’d just left him stranded with no way to get on the boat.

I saunter in to the overcrowded ticketing area and scan for a way to the ferry. Some people are tossing bags onto an Xray conveyor past the sea of hundreds of sweaty, worried wannabe passengers . Bingo. I start cutting my way across. “excuse me, excusez-moi”. Knowing only how to order beer in Spanish I instinctively start spitting out grade ten level french skills. Damnit. What was that word MacKay kept using.. Disculpe? “Disculpe, Pardon, pardonnez-moi” I push my way through.

There’s a wall of poles with those blue retractable ribbons they use in airports to form lines. Noo nee noo I’ll just undo this one and a walk on through doo de doo.. whoopsie. A security guard sees me doing this and comes right over. I understand nothing of what he says and just show him the ticket stub James gave me. He’s totally baffled. I point to the 14:30 on the little stub. He motions for me to hold on and walks away talking on his walkie talkie. Hmmmm somethings wrong here. Ah well, when he’s not looking I go right over to the xray machine and plop my bag of many things on it. I snatch it from the other side and glance over at the security dude. He’s looking at me sternly with his talkie at his ear still. I put my arms up in the universal “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing” mime. He just shakes his head and waves me onward.

In a spastic patois of broken Spanish and English swearing I try to ask the ticket guy whether I have time to turn around to the terminal. He shrugs his shoulders with a very skeptical look on his face and I know I have to try. I blow past the earlier checkpoint and a pedestrian crosswalk at high RPMs in third. The dockyard speed limit is ten km/h – this might have been the first time we’ve quintupled the speed limit on this trip, but then again, maybe it isn’t. I slam on the handbrake in front of the terminal in what is clearly a no parking zone and storm inside, pushing my way past the X-rays and to two security guards while gesticulating wildly. I shout “Mi amigo! Boleto! LMFAO! RedFoo! Donde?!?!” while making a “big hair” sign with my hands and waving Murphy’s ticket in my hand. One security guard holding a walkie-talkie completely understands what I’m saying, takes the ticket and runs inside.

I meander through a long covered walk way and take a moment to snap a picture of the boat. Nice! Ahhh pretty comfy weather today. Doo de doo I get to the pier. Man, still can’t believe we got all that done today. Totally gonna get on this boat ohhh yeaaaaaa.. someone grabs my shoulder roughly. It’s another security guy on his talkie. He rambles off some very important sounding stuff. Damn, I really should have learned some Spanish. “Ahhhh boleto?” and I show him my stub. He too is baffled. “ 2:30?” I point to the time on my stub. He gives me the “Stay put” mime and gets on his talkie. Hmmmmm what’s the deal here? He turns around and I decide everything’s cool so I keep walking towards the boat down the pier. I look back and he’s got the “What the hell man?” arms up mime. I give him the “Ya I know but ahhh, I don’t know” apology mime. He waves me on. Sweet! Getting on a boat!

After waiting a frantic minute I try to ask the remaining security guard whether Murphy was located. Some walkie-talkie crackle indicates that he hasn’t been, but the voice on the other end assumes he must have got on the boat. Nothing else I can do but make sure the car hasn’t been towed and that it beats the gate so I run out, pushing people out of my way. Jump in El-BP and fucking punch it. The guard at the first checkpoint starts walking out into the lane as I’m tearing towards him and I stick my head out the window and yell “YO VUELVO! YO VUELVO!” He nods in understanding and I punch it harder. I slow down and quickly shove my ticket at the second checkpoint’s guard, he yells “Derecha! Derecha!” I take the right ramp onto the boat and hi-viz jackets and flashlights wave me into a spot. I jump out and run towards the stairs. I don’t know why I’m still running, either Murphy made it or he didn’t at this point.

Look at this boat. Pretty big (Get another pic). Totally getting out of La Paz today, can’t believe it. What a crazy time. Noo nee noo just walking up a ramp. Getting on a boat. Finally, gonna be on the road again! Clicking off miles, making up time, feeling pretty goo… uh oh another security guard. Maaaaaan. I show him my ticket, “Boleto?”. He waves “No”. He gives me the “Where’s the other part?” mime. “The one this size” mime. “Ahhhhh, this is all I’ve got. See 14:30pm?”, shrug mime. “Nope, not gonna happen”, authority mime. “Shit! I dunno Ahhh.. Je suis une grande jaune crayon?”. Now we’re both confused. Damnit! I’m sooooo close. “Am I really not getting on this damn boat!” disappoint mime. Head shake mime. WTF! And James is gonna be on it. Disconnected for 6 hours. And he doesn’t even own a phone. Who doesn’t own a fuckin…Clop cloppy clop. Footsteps from behind. Yep, security guard. Knew it. What the hell? He’s panting and sweating. He has some white card in his hand and he’s yelling something. “Jonathan Murphy?”. “Yeah, that’s me”. He hands me the white card. It’s a ferry ticket with my name on it. “Whoa! Muchas gracias!!” Totally getting out of La Paz today! I slink up the stairs and think, “Hmmm now where will James find me on this giant boat.” I mosey to the bar.

I run up five sets of stairs, gasping for air and totally soaked in sweat. Into the passenger area of the boat and there are two signs – dining room to the left, bar to the right. I instinctively take a right, turn a corner and there’s Murphy drinking a Tecate. Holy shit, we made it. We’re getting out!

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