Fat, Smoking Man Walking

Trip Start Apr 27, 2010
Trip End Apr 25, 2011

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We had heard many stories about dodgy things happening in La Paz from other travellers so basically were expecting to be robbed, kidnapped, framed for drugs and any other number of things as soon as we got there. But as we've been finding, the stories we hear don’t match the reality we experience. La Paz felt like a really safe place and we didn’t once feel something untoward about to happen. Maybe we just travel smart. La Paz also wasn’t the dirty capital city that I had imagined. It was much cleaner than Buenos Aires, and the same manicured median strips of Sucre. La Paz is nestled in a large valley – hardly practical given the 3800m altitude. Here you feel like a 3 pack a day smoker, who is 100kg overweight, just finished running a marathon and dragging a 50kg ball and chain just walking up the street. Well ok, maybe it wasn’t that bad and we acclimatised fairly quickly.

The markets weren’t quite what we had expected, however after two months I made my first purchase – a sweet hammock for about $13 which will get plenty of use down in the jungle and when we finally hit the Carribean beaches.

While Steph had an early night, I decided to head out with some people from the hostel to see what the famous night life was like. After a few of the really good craft beer made at the hostel, we went to see how some of the bigger party hostels were going, however they were winding up. We went to a place called Blue – likely because of the blue neon light coming out from under the door of what looked like a house, and basically it was. We were the only ones there (although it was already 1am) so went to the next recommended place called Mongos. It was fairly crowded and playing commercial dance music but once again, the set up, basically inside a converted house was not ideal. The others were going to continue on but at 3.30am I was going home (Cos nothing good ever happens after 2am!). That day had been La Paz’s 201st Anniversary and so after about 12 hours of marching bands proceeding down the main street, the taxi passed a mass of Bolivian’s gathered around who were disturbingly zombie like – obviously having sampled the Cocaine which is famous here. Surprisingly, in the whole time in La Paz, no one offered drugs, unlike places like Bali or Spain where every second person selling things on the street does. So basically the night life wasn’t that impressive, same as any big city really.

There were a lot of decisions to be made in La Paz as there is so much to do nearby. We decided against visiting the prison as they wanted almost $100 and I didn’t think a murderer or drug dealer really deserved my money! I was really interested in doing a three day hike to the top of a 6000m mountain however decided against it because it was going to interfere with other things I would much rather have done, which is a two day mountain bike, three day boat trip to the jungle, which we have decided to head on. We also decided against the need to bike down death road as we spoke to some people who just came back from the same trip who thought the 2 days of biking was much better than death road. So with a couple of days to kill until the trip, we’ve decided to head to Coroico, 96km down the new death road to hang out for a while.
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