Highest capital city in the world!

Trip Start Jan 29, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Thursday, April 21, 2011

La Paz: The altitude of the city ranges from about 4058 meters above sea level to 3100 meters in the lower residential area. It is the highest national capital in the world. The sight from the air as one flies into La Paz is incredible. First, one sees the sprawling shantytowns of El Alto, slowly giving way to the sight of La Paz itself, clinging tenuously to the sides of what looks like a large gash in the earth with beautiful snow capped mountains for the surrounding. 

Well our initial thoughts about coming here were of corrupt police, muggings and organised crime after reading the warnings in the Lonely Planet!! I wish we had never based our opinion of this city on that, because we actually really enjoyed it and felt very safe walking around, I don't doubt some bad things can happen, but we stayed in the main tourist areas and had our wits about us as and encountered no problems. There are also a lot of police presence around, not sure if thats a good or bad thing, but it put us at ease a little anyway.

We were lucky to be here on Easter as they had a huge religious parade, it had brass bands and many different floats and went for hours! There were thousands of people on the streets. The photos are a little dark and can be misleading with that costume!! It looks like the kkk, but I assure you it is not, these are mostly indigenous people and they are very religious, we gather it is a traditional religious costume as we also seen it in red and black, but it freaked me out at first sight! Lol.
We liked to eat at the dodgy looking market stalls with the locals, we looked just a little out of place! But as they say, eat where the locals eat. We actually like trying the different food this way, its always a surprise! And generally tastes pretty good. Our stomachs managed to survive without injury! Ha ha, even though the hygiene is never the best, they like to handle the food with the fingers they've just licked off and god knows where else they've been, but you just don't look!! Out of sight out of mind right...

We have both read the book called 'Marching Powder' by an Australian author called Rusty Young, it is about the prison is La Paz and how an English guy got imprisoned there for trafficking for 8 years or so, it is an amazing book! Anyway that was our inspiration for wanting to see the famous San Pedro prison, we went on a Sunday and it seemed to be visiting day, we sat out the front in the square for a while and were approached by a suspect looking guy asking if we want to get in!! We were too chicken though... but man it would have been an experience. Anyone who has read the book will know what i'm talking about and if you haven't read it, then I recommend you do!

On Sunday nights here they have this wrestling called ´Cholita Wrestling´. Cholita is the name of the traditionally dressed women in their big puffy skirts, bowler hats and bright colours. It was the most outrageous, crazy funny thing we´ve ever seen!! They really get involved with the crowd and when I say involved I mean they chuck each other over the barricades on top of the crowd! Everyone is throwing jelly n coke n popcorn everywhere, it gets all over everyone!! There are no safety regs whatsoever, so if you get hurt too bad. James and I were up the front row and got a wrestler chucked over the barracade at us twice!! We heard they even spit at the crowd sometimes. It was completely raw and we loved it, never seen anything like it before, I hope my videos work properly on here. 

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