We learned about the roadblock at 9am, just after arriving at the terminal. Our bus might leave at noon. At 1pm, we were told that 3pm could be the new departure time. At 5pm, we traded in our tickets for a night bus leaving at 9. And around 11pm, we finally got on the road to Cochabamba. A fourteen-hour delay: in terms of Bolivian strikes, we actually got pretty lucky!
How do I know that La Paz is a real city? It’s got a ton of awesome street art! Here are some of the fun stenciling and graffiti I captured during our weeks in La Paz. My favorite is the X-Ray Llama. Have you spotted other cool street art? Post a picture in the comments!
We went up for the Lucha Libre, and returned to experience the gigantic market which takes place every Thursday and Sunday. Anything you can imagine is on sale here. It might be easier to list the things you can’t buy in El Alto’s market: javelins, circus elephants, wine bottles filled with rat heads, and midget fetish porn. That’s it, and actually, I’m not so sure on that last one.
In March of 2011, while we were in Buenos Aires, we read about a mega-landslide in La Paz, which destroyed 400 homes and displaced 5000 people. But we didn’t pay attention to the name of the neighborhood. So when we decided on a whim to explore Pampahasi, found high on the eastern side of La Paz, we were stunned to find a road that simply dropped off into nothingness. Houses ripped into two and a vast cliff of mud and sand dropping precipitously to the field below.
If you’re looking for a quick and incredibly cheap lunch in small, cramped quarters, you can’t go wrong at the the gleaming new Mercado Lanza near the Iglesia de San Francisco. With hundreds of stalls serving food and juices, you’ll definitely find something appetizing. Just don’t be squeamish about sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers.
I don’t know how many pictures I took during our weeks in La Paz… and I don’t want to count, because the total would probably freak me out. Just from our apartment window, I must have snapped over a hundred! But I’ve gone through them all, and picked out some of the great images that didn’t make it into other posts. I think it’s safe to say, La Paz was one of the most photogenic cities I’ve ever seen.
La Paz has a number of intriguing museums, including one dedicated to the unfairly maligned coca leaf, and another which takes a look at the War of the Pacific, when Bolivia lost its ocean access to Chile. Though we’re normally big on museums, we were constantly distracted by the bustling street markets, and never made it to most of La Paz’s. But we dared not skip out on the Museo de Etnografía y Folklore, near Plaza Murillo.
Living in Bolivia was an experience in healthy eating. I don’t think I’ve ever consumed as many fresh fruits and vegetables as during our time there. And it’s all so affordable. You can buy a papaya the size of a toddler for less than a dollar. Of course, not every Bolivian specialty is healthy. Here are some of the more hearty dishes we enjoyed
If you’re looking for a cheap and cool place to stay, here are three Bolivian hostels and hostals we can recommend in some of the country’s coolest cities: La Paz, Potosí and Sucre.
Two-thirds of the way up the hill which eventually ends in El Alto, you can find the viewing point Andina Jach’a Kollo. Just don’t trust your map or taxi driver to get you there.