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The first day of the rest of my life.

The first day of the rest of my life.

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The first day of the rest of my life.

Page Type: Article

Object Title: The first day of the rest of my life.

Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering



Created/Edited: Nov 3, 2010 / Aug 29, 2012

Object ID: 676447

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Page Score: 97.77%  - 73 Votes 

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That was the mountain.
My first summit ever. 4.496 m. Cochabamba, Bolivia, jan 2007.
This is the story of how it began my life as a mountaineer.

The events that shaped me into a mountaineer took place back in jan 2007, at bolivian soil. I’ve been a backpacker since my 18th birthday, after my mom passed away (she suffered a medical mistake, was considered dead and buried alive in 1996, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – long story, huge process, psychian charged for stealing patient profile records – my mom's of course – with the intention of hide proof against the hospital...long and sad story), a week after that I had an alcoholic coma and I was officially dead for 50 seconds, woke up with cardiac massage...Yeah, I know, not good. But at least I never touched drugs (besides drinking, which I stoped 3 years ago), and after all that mess I decided to change my life. So, I became a backpacker. My first trip was to Iguazu Falls and as usual I slept in the street and got myself a ride back home in a couple days more.

Since 1996 I am a backpacker, very well known here in Brazil, until just two years ago I used to help people with tips about backpacking and related kind of things. But, as I didn’t had enough money, my trips were only inside brazilian territory. My country is huge, and I had some fantastic 10 years of backpacking in Brazil. But, I wanted more. At august 2006 I decided to go outside my own country, got the plane ticket (which i had to pay in 6 months hehehe) to Santa Cruz De La Sierra, Bolivia, for next jan (2007). I quit my job and that’s it. The road was waiting for me, and my main goal was to visit the Machu Picchu ruins, the one place I knew since I was a little boy, read about it, saw tv shows about it…

The first day was a complete fun tragedy! I got to Santa Cruz in the middle of the night (around 2am) and went for the center to try to find myself a hostel to get some sleep before start my new kind of backpacking. But, when i got there, everywhere i went was fully booked. I never had problem in sleep at the street so...Went to a gas station and got some beers (paceñas!) and started drinking. After a while i went for a room search again, and a nice lady let me sleep at the sofa for a couple hours until the morning. That was great, one of my best sofa sleep ever...

When I woke up the city was a mess, I heard of a road block in Cochabamba and that was causing some problems around the area. But i didn’t care so much and went to the Bus station to get a ticket to La Paz. That’s a NO for me. All roads blocked, trains not working, the only way was to fly. I got back to the airport and got a ticket to Cochabamba (how stupid am i?! Ahahahahahh) two hours later. That probably was the biggest mistake ever, i jumped inside the problem just to save some money. When I got there, BUM! I was stuck. After several hours i manage one taxi that promissed me to take me to La Paz for just 100 dollars! But after 1 hour driving the driver quit, charged me for just 5 dollars and left in the middle of nowhere at some poor part of Cochabamba.

Everyone was walking, screaming, fighting with cops, throwing rocks...tsc tsc tsc...While walking every now and then i took a shot about something. One of them almost cost me my camera and a few punches on my face! I saw this sign someone did with some magic marker, complaining about the government. Of course, i took a shot. The people saw me with my camera and they grabbed me, thinking i was a reporter! I spent like half an hour talking to them trying to explain I was not a reporter, that I was just a brazilian Historian backpacker passing by. That was tense...

Newspaper Oruro jan 2007
Newspaper 1
newspaper 2
Newspaper 2
Starting to walk towards La Paz
Starting to walk towards La Paz
Camping at the street!
Camping at the street
At the back of a truck with...
The first truck ride
Ride on another truck, corn crops truck!
The second truck ride
I stoped some guy and asked him what was the road to La Paz, he said to me “you’re standing on it, just go that way”. So, i started walking towards La Paz. Walking! Walked, walked, walked...after like 6 hours it was getting really cold, i had now 2 new friends (a bolivian and a peruvian), i found a small road stop for truck drivers, got myself the first meal of the trip, the first soda...i asked to the owner of the establishment if it was okay for me to set up my tent right there at the street so i didn’t freeze to death (i was now at 3000 m high), he said “no problem!”. So, that became my first street camp outside Brazil.

Before go to sleep i agreed with the other guys to hitch a ride with some workers on the back of an old truck by 4am. Woke up at the time and it was a cold night, probably –5°C. Got on the back of the truck and here we go, to cross the Cochabamba Sierra, and my goal was La Paz. Let’s go baby! :P

But, as usual, backpacking is always an adventure and nothing ever goes as planned. After a couple hours the truck brocked (overheated). So i jumped off the truck and got on the back of another truck passing by with corn crops! Hehehe, that was fun! I was so hungry I eat the corn raw! Anyway, a couple hours more and the road block stoped us definitely. I had no choice so I got off the truck and started walking. The altitude was around 3.300 m high. I had a heavy backpack (about 18kg), I was not used to carry such weight, and I had a bad case of meibomian cysts. There was thousands of people going up and down the road, walking, just like me.

I walked for like 10 hours, my huge cyst on the eye blow off and i’m pretty sure you can imagine the scene. I had it all infected, bleeding, I was really hungry and dehydrated, and I finally got to the top of that mountain. There was a sign by the road: “Zona de Cumbre – 4.496 msnm” (that means – summit zone, 4.496 meters above sea level). I was so happy I dropped my backpack, went back a few hundred meters and took that shot with the rocks at the road. Went back to the summit and got some rest...After like 20 minutes a taxi came by and the driver was yelling “Oruro”, “Oruro” (next city, still 125 kms away!). Walking I got almost to the end of the road block, which ended only a few kms after that point, the ride cost me only 35 bls (about 8 dollars at the time) because I had two people more with me inside the cab. In just 1 and a half hour I was in Oruro, got a bus ticket to La Paz, a nice room on a simple but clean hostel by the bus station, the first shower of the trip, the second meal, and 12 hours of straight sleep. Looking at the signs by the road, I saw I walked in two days a total of 43 kms.

That happened on jan 2007, i consider that mountain my first summit and my first andean summit. I was now a mountaineer, addicted. Now I am famous at my country not just as a puzzle lover or as a backpacker, now I write for the biggest brazilian website about climbing and mountaineering and I am a mountaineer for not even four years (will be in jan 2011!). Google already completes my nickname (when you get to the “f”) when you type it for the search, I can show my adventures and the brazilian mountains here at summitpost, a place where I met so many friendly people such as Marc, Eric, Liba, TyedyeTwins, Chad, Noondueler, Romek, Zeejay, Adam (gimpilator), Henry, Icypeak, Ojo, Icarreau, Rdmc, Winemanvan, SenadR, Azra, Flávio Varricchio, Marcelo (Mountainfriend), Antonio Giani, Afzal, Jasano, FortMental, Sarah, Silversummit, Aranka, CJ, Osvaldo, Belexes, Lodewijk, and a lot more. So, the mountains gave me a better life (not money, I hate money) and helps me to forget the problems for that 5 or 10 minutes I stand on a summit, and that’s the reason I climb for my mom, raise the portuguese flag and not a brazilian flag. My mom came to Brazil with 2 years old and never became a brazilian actualy, until the day she died (at 37 years old) she used a foreign identity.

That day, the day I suddenly climbed a 4000 m peak at the andes without any plans, that was the first day of the rest of my life.

More images

Me, at the back of the truck
The first truck ride, what a view!
People from Cochabamba/ Bolivia
The line says: "No for the autonomies. The people are in need and demands resignation of the mayor." The shot that almost cost me my blood.

Peruvian girls
Some peruvians girls, after I got to Peru.

External Links

A brazilian website to get mountains info, including gps files to download:http://www.rumos.net.br/rumos/

My youtube channel: www.youtube.com/parofes
- Now with 250+ videos online!

The biggest brazilian website about climbing and mountaineering, for which I'm a columnist:

After that trip I wrote a book available for download as a e-book at 4shared (portuguese): E-book Parofes

One of many interviews i was for different websites about backpacking (portuguese, possible to use google to translate): http://junesmerth.wordpress.com/2009/06/06/entrevista-com-o-mochileiro-paulo-roberto-da-silva/

Additional info (Nov 4th, 2010)

Today, nov 4th, 2010, i found some info online about the events i described here at my article regarding some of my life and how i became a mountaineer, the roadblock in Cochabamba, Bolivia, jan 2007:
> Wikipedia page about the problem: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cochabamba_social_unrest_of_2007
> The news about the roadblock by the US Embassy in La Paz!: http://www.megalink.com/usemblapaz/consulado/anuncios.htm

Thank you all by the votes and kind comments!



Ride on another truck, corn crops truck! Peruvian girlsThat was the mountain.Me, at the back of the truck At the back of a truck with...Camping at the street! People from Cochabamba/ Bolivia
Starting to walk towards La Paz newspaper 2 Newspaper Oruro jan 2007


[ Post a Comment ]
Viewing: 21-38 of 38 « PREV 1 2 NEXT »

lcarreauRe: Excellante ...


Voted 10/10

Ha - ha-ha-ha !!!

It falls under "whatever reason." : ))

What about when the "angry housewife" throws frozen chickens at
you ?? OUCH..
Posted Nov 4, 2010 2:45 pm

Sarah SimonMoving story

Sarah Simon

Voted 10/10


Thank you so much for sharing. I, too, have found a sort of redemption in the mountains. May you continue to find what you need in the high country. The mountains are a great source of peace for me - I hope you continue to find peace in the high peaks, too.


Posted Nov 4, 2010 7:58 pm

PAROFESRe: Moving story


Hasn't voted

Thank you Sarah for the kind words. And may all of us find that same redemption and great times in the mountains!
Best wishes

Posted Nov 5, 2010 6:19 am

Deltaoperator17Mountain Brother


Voted 10/10

Paulo, my condolences and prayers that you receicve the comfort you need. Great writing, loved it!!

All my best,

Posted Nov 4, 2010 11:44 pm

PAROFESRe: Mountain Brother


Hasn't voted


Thank you so much for the kind words, i am an atheist myself. But i do respect other people's beliefs! So, thank you for the prayers as well my friend!

Happy climbings

Posted Nov 5, 2010 6:28 am

winemanvanExcellent story!


Voted 10/10

Thanks for sharing your story. I can credit the mountains for helping me deal with a personal tragedy. I took off for the mountains and sorted things out. I don't know what I would have done then or where I'd be today, if it had not been for the wilderness and its healing powers. I too am an atheist, but I consider the wilderness to be my church. Keep up the good work. It's not about the money, it's about passion, curiosity and seeking the truth. You seem to be living that credo.
Happy bushwhacking, Van
Posted Nov 7, 2010 2:12 pm

PAROFESRe: Excellent story!


Hasn't voted


Thank you for reading it. Yep, the mountains helped me and there's a lot more to come, i'm sure about that. And i think you figured my actions with perfection: My credo is on the mountains and the wilderness right now.
As Mulder (X files) used to say: "The truth is out there!"
Happy trails up there my friend!
Posted Nov 7, 2010 6:15 pm

lcarreauRe: Excellent story!


Voted 10/10

"Is there anybody out there ???"
Posted Nov 7, 2010 7:39 pm



Voted 10/10

Thanks for posting PAROFES, moved by your story, how you have kept going after your terrible ordeal is very insperational and brave.
I hope you have many more happy days climbing mountains and living your dream, I also was at the summit of Mont Blanc in July, such a beautiful place,peace to you and your family.

Posted Nov 8, 2010 2:55 pm

PAROFESRe: insperational


Hasn't voted

Hey we almost met in France hehehe
Thank you for reading and for the vote too.
Peace to us all!
Posted Nov 8, 2010 4:04 pm

LodewijkWhat a story


Voted 10/10

That's quite the story Paulo,my condolences for the loss of your mother. I think it is great you find your peace in the mountains. For me it's similar, standing on a summit makes me forget about all other things. That feeling is just perfect! I am glad to hear you like SummitPost and it's really nice of you to mention my name! Whenever you may visit Europe again, let me know: We can maybe climb some summits together :-)
All the best to you Paulo, Cheers!
Posted Nov 8, 2010 3:07 pm

PAROFESRe: What a story


Hasn't voted

Thank you Lodewijk, and i think all mountaineers who love mountains truly think just as we do.
I have plans to go to Europe sometime again but i don't know when, if i do, i'll let you know!
Best regards
Posted Nov 8, 2010 4:05 pm



Voted 10/10

on your article making the front page Paulo. The article and you deserve it. It is always good to get to know folks here on another level. Keep telling your story, and a credit to you, as you have handled it with class and much better than I could.
Posted Nov 8, 2010 7:37 pm

PAROFESRe: Congrats


Hasn't voted

Thanks Chad!
I'm still handling with it my friend, and i always will be...
See ya!
Posted Nov 9, 2010 4:39 am

RayMondoBecoming a Backpacker


Voted 10/10

You could not have made a better choice. The mountains are great healers and enable us to really discover ourselves, as well as meet others, and talk here with interesting people.
Posted Nov 11, 2010 3:51 pm

PAROFESRe: Becoming a Backpacker


Hasn't voted

Yeah you're right, for me that was a perfect choice and i'd do it all over again if i had to!
Posted Nov 11, 2010 5:09 pm



Hasn't voted

Awesome story! Glad you got your life worked out for good ,bless you.
Posted Apr 18, 2013 12:30 pm

PAROFESRe: jeepgrl1964


Hasn't voted

Well, not for long. Recently I found I have leukemia so I'm fighting it off...
But so far, I'm kicking its ass big time!
Thanks for reading
Posted Apr 18, 2013 12:47 pm

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