The city is also full of tourists, as there's so much to do and see around the city. Really an adventure travel gateway, as you will see in my next blog entry. La Paz is also a great city to "chill" for a few days, although it's pretty chaotic and always full of people. Anyway, chill I do..
. I join up with Karla, a local from La Paz I knew from earlier, and she shows me the city for real. From poor suburbs to the more ritzy areas. And then I mean poor, and ritzy. Karla used to work in a fashionable tennis club, in one of the more upscale neighborhoods, and she told me that a lifetime membership is US $21,000. Add monthly fees to that my friend. I almost fell on the floor when I heard the price, imagine the differences in standard of living in South America's poorest country.
There's not that much more to tell from La Paz, I go to Tiahuanaco, but find it rather disappointing compared to some of the other "stone piles" I have seen around the world. I revisit Mongo's of course, a great watering hole down in the Sopocachi neighborhood. And a couple of guys try to pickpocket me while I am walking around the city. They are using the classic mustard trick, but that scam is way too old for a seasoned traveler. So I notice immediately and tell them bugger off times ten. Why don't you try remoulade or something next time guys, try and be a bit inventive will ya!
If it wasn't for Buenos Aires, I guess La Paz could very well be my favorite city in Latin America (well, I guess we have to add Panama City, Cartagena and Rio as well). It's the highest located capital in the world at an altitude of 3660m, with sunny days and cold nights this time a year. It's located in a bowl like valley, and when you stand at the rim of the bowl up in El Alto (altitude about 4100m), viewing the city below, the houses carefully clinging on to the hillsides, and with the snowy peak of Illimani (6458m) towering in the background, it truly is a spectacular sight.