Kirsty RTW '04/'05 travel blog

on the road to La Paz

Local women wit their bowler hats that never seem to move

Local transaction just finished!

The previous Copacabana-La Paz bus!

First view of La Paz

La Paz

La Paz street scene, thriving local businesses on the left

Wheres the safety?!?!¿

The buses in La Paz

Local kid

A local woman

Shoeshine boys

One of many street women selling fresh juices

Street scene in La Paz, can see El Alto suburb in background

Market in La Paz

Just off the Plaza San Francisco

Muriel n Rachel shoppin at the witches market

Spot all the deid llamas!!

Dinner at Cafe ciudad with the troops and Petes(Rachs guy) mate Mitch

With the restuarant security guard(reluctantly on his part!)

Me N Rog fightin over the dip

Bowler hat on, still dunno how they keep dem on!

Local ironmongers

Local and her wean

Last supper in a posh restaurant(Pronto) in La Paz

Typewriters on the street

Shoeshine boys at work

Family beggin on the streets,La Paz


2.5 hours we were promised for our 16bol (jus over a pound!!) Looking at the map, had saw a wee gap in the road, interspersed by that big lake again, found out why, all off the bus.

The bus was taken over in shady wee raft thing, we had to pay another 1bol to get a wee speedboat over, after having our passports checked!

Back on the bus after sneaking a few pics of the local women with their bowler hats that sit perched on their heads!

3 hours later we were in the suburb of El Alto(Latin Americas now fastest growing city), which was an ugly place, so much poverty, was a shock, so much poorer than Perú.

People on the streets...... as usual... but the place was just dismal and bleak lookng, and SO poor. Metal workers welding on the streets, women selling fishes out of aluminium cans, so so many people on the streets.

We actually descended down onto the city, which I was surprised at, knowing it was the highest capital in the world, but we were a lot lot higher than 4000m at El Alto. We (Rachel, Muriel, Roger and I ) were dropped off in the middle of this busy street. It was pretty mad, so many people, traffic, so so glad there was a group of us. Then once bags were retrieved from under the bus we tried to find a taxi, obviously not Lima- the city of a thousand taxis. We walked thru a market, feeling pretty vulnerable, when a police officer stopped us and asked us where we were staying, told us to be very careful with our stuff. Me being little miss cynical didnae tell him where we were staying, just in case!!

Anyhoo, eventually got a taxi to take us to our hostel for 10bol(a fortune, but in no position to argue!), which was in the middle of the witches market. Cool place to be!

First impressions-

People sitting on the street with mobile fones on chains offering cheap calls

People on streets with typewriters typing what appeared to be peoples CVs

People everywhere, retro buses

Saw an old woman crouching in the street(yeah, not an uncommon occurence) with a vertical steam of orange pee coming out from under her long skirts into the gutter!!

Hunners of shoe shine boys, with balaclavas on(dunno what it is they hiding?!)

No real shops, no places to eat, unless u wanna shop n eat like the locals on the streets n in the fake stalls!

And when it rains it rains!!

We went to the witches market, which sells lots of weird looking things, the weirdest being dead llamas(or vicuñas or alpacas), some with fur, some without, some with only skulls... And fleas!

Went for dinner on our last night with Roger and muriel (as they were off to the pampas Thu am) to the posh end of town, found a lovely Italian, recommended by Rachel, called Pronto, and had a luvly dinner, very posh(well at least what we were used to!!) Carpaccio, cost 22bol, expensive, but when you consider its only 1.50gbp, puts in in perspective! The night before i had a steak dinner, dessert and shared a couple of botles of wine for the huge sum of 4.50gbp!! Andy, told u ud luv it here! And this night at least, Roger and I had no Pico de Gallo(tomato spicy dip) dip to fight over, as like the previous few nights every time the cover came me and him would scoff the lot before the main meal came, sometimes burning our lips off in the process, but it was worth it, eh Rog?!?

Spent a lot of time shopping in la Paz, cos its so cheap! Got hundreds of souvenirs n pressies for all, my only worry is that now I have doubled my baggage weight, or at least it fells like that!!

TRIVIA

* 70% of population below poverty line

* As big as Spain and France combined

* La Paz 3660m above sea level

* Famous for worlds highest everything, coca and being land locked

****How to spot fake notes*****

They have what looks like a line below the main Bolivia writing at the top, but on closer look actually reads republic of bolivia on real notes.

They should have a line, visible when shown to the light, and the monetary amount printed in letters- realnotes

Also, it should be rough to touch, the face, and should discharge ink when rubbed on paper if real.



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