When: 6th – 9th June 2014
Where: La Paz, Bolivia
People I met: Peter, Dom, Sam, Khong, Rob, Will, Tyler, Ariana, Jojo
After a 4 hour and 20 Boliviano bus ride ($3.2) we were finally in La Paz, one of Bolivia’s capital cities. Yes Bolivia has two capitals…weird right? We drove in and wow this is a massive city, surrounded by mountains with a skyline dominated by Mountain Illimani which is covered in snow. Bolivia is almost 4km above sea level. We arrived at hostel Loki (a converted hotel) and were shown to our rooms, which were quite nice and had bathrooms with hot showers! Haylee, Josh and I went for a walk around our area, lots of markets here but they are defiantly local markets, not so much for tourists as they are selling toiletries, appliances, clothes etc. For a snack we found a man in a little booth making 8 B ($1.3) burgers…delicious! We went back to the hostel and headed up to the bar for a real dinner and some drinks. Unsurprisingly Loki had a number of ways to get people drinking and playing stupid games, so it ended up being quite a big night for me. Haylee and josh went to bed quite early so I just made friends and danced my little heart out (on a bar).
Next morning we were doing death road (who drinks before death road? idiot.) Death road used to be a main highway in Bolivia, it gets the name as it certainly is not wide enough for two cars, it is unpaved and there are no railings to stop cars falling the 900m off the cliff, scary stuff. Luckily they have built a new, safe highway and this one is now used for tourists and the few locals who live in the villages along the way. After the van picked us up we had quite a ride to the starting point. We would be mountain biking down death road. Our start point was 4.7km above sea level…holy! We got all kitted up and then began the ride, the inital bit was paved and not the real death road. We finally got onto the real death road and it was awesome! I was being very cautious as I did not want to fall off and injure myself but Josh was off and flying! the ride itself wasn’t so hard, but it was unpaved and all downhill. The scenery was awesome, we even got to ride underneath a waterfall. Stopped a few times along the way for food, drink and photos but we made it (alive) to the bottom in about 3 hours. Afterwards they took us to a place for a buffet lunch and we got to go swimming. Yep it was HOT at the bottom as we were only 1.2km above. Made the 3 hour long bus ride back into La Paz, and what a sight it was to come into that city at night when it was all lit up! Got back to the hostel and a Toga party was taking place, so haylee and I got into Togas and the drinking began again! This night was crazy, I went out with a bunch of people I had met that night and the previous night. We went to wild rover, the dubliner and route 36. I got to see Jimmy and Tom again which was nice. Ended up coming home at 7am…why do I do this to myself? because it was awesome! haha. Oh the night before Steve had come to visit but was so sick I let him pass out in our dorm.
Next morning Haylee, Josh, Steve and I headed to the El Alto flea markets. El Alto is situated above La Paz and is the dodgey area but was okay this day. these flea markets were gigantic, wow. You could buy anything and everything there, appliances, car parts, animals, food, clothes, shoes, furniture, you name it you could get it. They were very busy and so we just strolled around for a while. I got a fried yucca ball with egg, meat and veg inside plus a side salad for 6 B’s ($1). We were going to catch the cable car back into town but the line was about 2 hours long! We ran into Dom and Peter from our hostel so we all got a collectivo back. On the way back to the hostel we checked out the witches markets, there they sell llama fetus! Apparently a llama fetus is buried beneath each new building, creepy. Just spent the afternoon at the bar talking to different people and then had an early night in. The next day was a short one as we were leaving to get the bus back to Cusco at about 2pm. We did get time to check out the markets and buy some awesome stuff though. Then it was goodbye Bolivia! I really enjoyed it here, it was much less developed than Peru so reminded me a great deal of central america.
Again, these are not my photos!