25.01.2012 - 17.01.2012 20 °F
Back to Copacabana and looking for our 4hrs or so transport to La Paz. The travellers that I had met going opposite direction to me all told me ‘Good luck with the roads in Bolivia’ and laughed, so I had an idea that they were not going to be great…and they were not lying! Unpaved, rocky, bumpy and the edges of the roads were life threatening! With a population of over 1.5million and a staggering altitude of 3,660m it took me time to fall in love with this city. At 1st you are hit with buildings that cling to the sides of the canyon that spill downwards to the centre. A typical city with loads of commuters, transport, high rise buildings and the amount of people is crazy! Here the local women sport their long plated hair with the smallest bowler hats that literally just sit on their heads, who sell everything from dried llama foetuses (for good karma) to designer shoes. This city does need time for anyone to adjust because at 1st trust me you would prob hate it but because the city is so diverse you would find that each street is different from the other – they tend to have streets that have shops that sell the same things ie pet shops which I found very weird but then again at least you would not need to go and look for bargains! Michael friend (Joey) who lives in La Paz actually took us to the black market to pick up a few bits and pieces which were well cheap he also showed us around the other parts of La Paz. Miraflores seemed to be the more family orientated side and Sopocachi for me seemed to have that posher side to it.
After a killing, back breaking 18hrs bus journey we finally reach La Paz earlier than expected and glad that we reserved our 2nights as well. Dusted off our bags which accumulated so much dust we got in to a cab. So weird being back in the city and the weather was a dramatic change from being very hot but nice with a slight breeze to seeing snow and freezing cold temperatures!
These two days I really got to se more of La Paz and each day I am finding something new. Me and Michael had linked up with his local Boliviano friend who showed us around the black markets etc had Api and all. He had told us about that we are n the middle of this 2week festival where the locals go and purchase small figurines that represent materialistic things that they would like. Once purchased they would go to a witch doctor who would bless the figurines and they would become fortunate to receive them within this year – bizarre! I saw this middle aged women buying a small bride and groom statue with a matrimonial form – hoping that her daughter/son will marry this year lol OMG its crazy!
I have now stayed in La Paz on and off and I can truly understand now why people fall in love with this city. A few days is not enough – in a nut shell La Paz is one big ‘market’ – every corner that you turn you will no doubt will see some sort of stand set up selling all sorts. The funny or shall I say the weird thing is that people tend to sell next to their competitors. So like today I walked along a road that was purely dedicated to pets, the next street was all to do with electronics etc.
A few obsessions here in La Paz are Saltenas which are like Cornish pastries you can Veg version as well as meat and they are filled with juices – they taste alright. A lot people tend to snack on these bad boys during the day but mostly at around 10am or like 17pm.
The one thing that I am crazy about is called Api. It basically is a sweet-corn drink that is served hot with sweet pastries or saltenas but I like it on its own.
La Paz is a modern city that still has traditionally dressed women running the streets which is so cool. There is also this renowned working prison ‘San Pedro’ in the heart of the city – I went along it and really wanted to take a few pictures but obviously I was not allowed. This prison was open for tourist but I don’t know for how long but they have stopped this because some how rumour has it that a girl tourist was raped there…ewww. I get go passed the notorious San Pedro prison and I was lucky to get a peek through the gates, as women were about to visit their loved ones. It was crazy though coz the prison is smack bang in the middle of the town and in front of it is a plaza where all the public where chilling having ice-cream going on their daily lives! It was in fact when I entered Bolivia that
The weather here so far has been really hot during the day and extremely cold in the evenings. And you can def see/point out who are the ‘Gringos’ coz they are all obsessed with Alpaca clothing and like to wear everything together even though the colours clash as hell.