29.04.2007 - 02.05.2007 25 °C
I forgot to mention about one of the girls in our tour group having her credit card and money stolen from her bag in her hotel room while we were in Cuzco. Guess who did it STAFF, nothing that could be proved of course, but they were the only ones with a key. Luckily nothing has happened to us yet (touch wood). The reason I mention it, is because today when we were walking around Ryan saw a guy following a girl unzipping her backpack, doddgy.
Anyway. La Paz 3800 mtrs approx above sea level. Thankfully we journeyed there slowly so didn´t feel the effects of altitude to badly. Just shortness of breath when going up stairs, Ryan woke from his sleep once short of breath.
Whist in La Paz we saw protesters (about the work situation we guess). The average wage in Bolivia is 1000 Bolivianos a year about $200 NZ. Where as the politicians get $4000 Bolivianos a month, no wonder they were protesting. How´s this for some ironic stats: In Bolivia the age of retirement is 65, the age of free health care is 65, the life expectancy is 65. Conditions here are pretty sad, beggers in the streets and people working all hours to try to get by. However they are still a pretty happy bunch.
We went on a city tour, which took about 4 hrs on a double decker bus. It was a little freeaky as sometimes the bus would hit low hanging phone lines, so we were yelling duck. The front of the double decker was covered in at the front with glass (where we were sitting). The back was convertable, and people had to watch low hanging branches as well as the bus got too close. We went to moon valley which was pretty cool, it is a collection of stellicmites(don´t know how to spell), that make the landscape look pretty unsafe yet people still build on it. We paid to go to the toilet while we were there, and could have paid extra to go into the viewing area, which was no different or more spectacular than the hill we stood on across the road. While we were there I saw a dog with extra toes, which I found quite amusing.
That night the tour group went for dinner at a place called Brossco which was like a huge Cob and Co but more colourful and everything was made of plastic (except the food of course). I thought our guide was taking us to a nice restaurant and was pretty disappointed when we arrived, but it turned out to be pretty cool. I´ve probably already mentioned this, but South America has the most awesome cakes and pastries. Everything, so decadent and pretty. I tried taking a photo of a cake stall untill I was growled by a security guy, the lady inside said it was OK to take a photo, but I didn´t want to argue, they may have arrested me, apparently they like putting gringos in jail.
The next day we explored on foot, we went to the black markets and looked at stall after stall (many the same) of clothes, food, shoes, belts you name it they had it. We accidently stumbeled across the witches market. It kind of stunk of dead animals as there were petrified Llamas, wild cats, Armadillos, all sorts. There were hundreds of different natural remedies, that consisted of god only knows what. Two of the boys from the tour Jordy and Adam had the flu so they bought a concoction(don´t laugh at my spelling) off a woman and were pretty convinced it worked.
Ryan went mountain biking down Death Road, the most dangerous road in the world. They left at 8 in the morn and got back at 10 at night. They only mountain biked for about 7hrs of that, the rest of the time consisted of travelling and having a feed. They started at 4200 mtrs and got down to 1200mtrs. The bikes were doddgy to say the least chains were breaking, wheels were locking up, and bikes had to be changed regularly. One of the girls Danni from Australia had her chain break and she flipped the bike and got graized all over. Luckily she didn´t go over the side of the cliff. Some Israelie guy got killed a couple of months ago doing the same thing. People die from time to time. No big deal. Some chick was taking photos on the side of the road and stepped off the edge to avoid a bus, she´s no more.
All in all La Paz was cool, but we were getting over the whole city buzz, and I was hanging out for a town with flat ground. Next stop Sucre.