Tuesday, November 17, 2015

#travelpost - La Paz, Bolivia

Three hours from Lake Titicaca down some very bumpy roads is the capital city of La Paz. At one point we needed to get off the bus whilst both us and the bus jumped on a boat across a narrow part of the lake which was a funny feeling... Watching your bus rock to and throw on a long barge is a bit wierd.

I was a bit nervous about La Paz before we arrived... Its reputation gives off danger signals and a list of 'what not to dos' but I'll give it to La Paz... It's not as scary as what you'd expect. 

It's busy. Like really busy but I was expecting some version of the madness I saw in Cairo! But no... It's just a very busy city with more order than what I ever expected. Don't get me wrong though, it's no normal city... There's strange sights on most corners, including the witches market full of herbs, potions and llama featuses used for good luck....

On our first night we had a walk around town and bumped into a girl, Jeanette, that had taken the same bus as us earlier that day. We shared some Chinese food from a local chifa and chatted the night away.

Early the next morning the three of us headed to a free walking tour of the city which happened to finish in an English pub with free shots of the Bolivian liquor Singani. We grabbed some salteƱas from a lady and her stall before it started and oh my... They were good. Bubbly, crispy pastries filled with samosa style fillings and an array of sauces to eat them with. The tour started at the infamous San Pedro prison... Run from the inside by the inmates. You could see the guards on the gate and the wives of the inmates  selling things outside to make some money to take back in. Here the families and children can live inside with the husbands... A strange, strange place. 

We wandered through markets, ate strange fruits, learned about the Bolivian people's faith in 'potions' (no construction worker will start working on a site without a ritual being done first) and drank our first Bolivian beer. 

We got some good views of the city from the cable car that runs from the centre to the outer barrios but my favourite way of seeing La Paz was from Urban Rush.... A huge five star hotel in the middle of town and its top floor is used for abseiling. No... We didn't do this but our brave friend Jeanette did... Dressed as a rasher of bacon! We just admired the views and got a serious case of  butterflies just watching her!

For the rest of our time in the city we did the usual things... People watched, ate at the markets and drank lotsa coffee. We ate more pastries (what? It's hibernation season) and on the last day we had the worlds most delicious pasty with pulled pork! I'm still craving it now. We hung in the city centre mainly but we did have a walk down the huge avenue through town to a zone bit more chilled... Still in the centre but it was full of students sat about and everything was so much greener. It reminded us of Miraflores in Lima.

Oh there is one more thing... Whilst I wasted away a day in bed being chicken, Harry cycled down 'Death Road' - the worlds most dangerous. He came back in one piece with some scrapes, bruises and a big smile. They got a minivan to the starting point and in true Bolivian style had to take a shot of 80% alcohol to ask Mother Earth to look after them on the ride down... They even poured a shot on their bikes and the ground. He said it's one of the highlights of his trip!

On Friday we'll be doing a three day tour to Salar de Uyuni the salt flats and then working our way up through some UNESCO cities to our final stop before NY, Santa Cruz. 

Ciao X 

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