La Paz, Las Rockas
Trip Start May 30, 2005
129Trip End Sep 30, 2006
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A couple of hours later we were driving through a town and I was wondering where we were, it turned out to be La Paz! and the journey was only 18 hours longs, and here I thought my Spanish had been getting better, pah.
I found this great Lebanese restaurant a few doors up from my hostel, really great food, although I almost didnīt make it past the first night there
I almost just walked out leaving enough money to cover the bill, but the feeling passed and I could tentatively continue eating. I hadnīt been effected by the altitude like this when I first arrived in Bolivia, but then Iīd been in the mountains while in Argentina so that must have helped.
La Paz is a great looking city. I wonīt say itīs beautiful, but itīs stunning. Itīs set in a large bowl and you can gaze at the city as it rises 300 meters above the centre on a very steep slope. Of course it smells very similar to many other Bolivian cities, yep, of Urine. They just canīt seem to help themselves.
I did the usual tourist thing, walking around and looking at churches and other buildings and just generally having a nose around. I really prefer other smaller places to cities now and so I didnīt generally get over excited.
After Iīd gone to bed on my first night there I heard a loud bang, like the last time I didnīt think much of it even though my windows shook, and like the last time it was a bomb
There was a parade taking place through the streets while I was there. It appeared to be a display of military strength as there were all manners of people in uniforms marching up and down and a few fly overs from the air force. I was quite concerned about one group of the military. Their uniform was the most NAZI looking thing Iīve ever seen, perhaps more so that Prince Williams fancy dress of a couple of years ago. They even marched in a very particular way that gave flash backs to Munich in the 1930īs, very disconcerting.
I took a day trip out to the ruins of Tiwanaku, I decided to try and do it on the cheap, for the fun of it. Rather than taking one of the tours. I had to catch a local bus up to the cementary to get the public bus out to the ruins. I saw a little micro with `Cementarioī written on the front, I jumped on and asked to go to the cementary, paying my money and sitting back enjoying the view. I didnīt really know my way round La Paz very well but after 10 minutes I recognised something that was in the wrong direction from the cementary. I shouted after the conductor "This is near Miraflores", a district of La Paz.
"Yes" he replied
"But I want to go to the Cementary"
"Your best getting out and crossing the road to catch another bus"
"What!" I couldnīt believe it, "Stop here"
When we came to a stop I asked for my money back as heīd blatently just allowed me on the bus to take my money. He said no and just smiled at me, I was so angry. The best insult that I could come out with was "Mentira!", which just means liar, he must have been shaking in his boots.
I eventually managed it out there without too many other dramas. I made a mistake out here. Talking to someone later, they said that if you donīt take a guide then itīs just a pile of rocks, but with a guide they can tell you and show you many interesting things. To me it was just a pile of rocks and I was mightily disappointed.
The nearby town was really beautiful though, really quiet with a nice square and an interesting church in the corner. It was a bit of a shame that I enjoyed this more than the Tiwanaku ruins themselves.
Usually when moving on to another place itīs with a bus, train, or perhaps a boat. I decided to move onto my new location in a slightly different way this time, by bike! More details in the next post!