We're at the end of our three month stay in Bolivia: one of the most incredible periods in our lives. In the past 91 days, we've seen more amazing places and done more exciting things than I could ever have anticipated. It's been an experience that we'll never forget
With our three months in Bolivia almost over, we arrived in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the country's most populous city. The Department of Santa Cruz is Bolivia's biggest state, occupying almost the entire eastern half of the country. Consider: even though Bolivia is one of South America's "small" countries, the department of Santa Cruz is bigger than Germany! The idea that three months would be enough time to comprehensively explore Bolivia was probably a little naive.
Eating in Bolivia has been a real test of intestinal fortitude. We've had a lot of incredible dishes, but our stomachs are unused to the style of food. Here are three other dishes which we've battled through during our time here
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!
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.
Masks are an essential part of Bolivian celebrations, allowing dancers to adopt the personalities which populate the country's myths and legends. Demons, dragons and angels join representations of real-world creatures like bears and beavers.
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.
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.
One of the most famous prisons in the world is the inmate-run San Pedro, smack in the center of La Paz. Yep, I said "inmate-run". Authorities guard the gates, but within the walls of the block-sized facility, the prisoners run the operations.