Altitude sickness...

Trip Start Oct 14, 2009
Trip End Dec 03, 2009

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Friday, November 6, 2009

So we arrived into La Paz early on the morning and took a cab from the airport (which is at 3600m/13,120 ft) to our hotel. The view from the cab into the city on the way down is amazing. The city is nestled in a crater and the houses are built all up the walls. Very cool looking city.

So we checked in and started walking the streets. We could both definitely feel the effects of the high-altitude. Just a feeling that you're head is not really there, and you are winded by one set of stairs. La Paz has quite a few markets set up and a lot of the local still wear the traditional clothing - the women wear many skirts and dresses and shawls and have two long black braids hanging from under bowler hats. They also carry items and babies on their backs in the multi-colored blankets. We took a look through the Witches Market, where these women sell all sorts of herbs and potions (and llama foetus' that is good luck when you put them under your doorstep!). People are everywhere selling everything on the streets from bread and bottles of water to batteries and watches and just about anything you could think of.

They also have a unique city bus program. They use hundreds of minivans that have a driver and a guy who sits up front and yells their route and destination at every intersection and if you want to get on you just wave and they stop and pick you up and keep going, yelling all the way. We also discovered that they don't have any street lights or stop signs, so when you think there is a break in traffic you just run for it and hope you don't get hit! Crazy city, but it must work!

We met our next GAP tour group too, and they seem to be a lot of fun. 15 of us all together from England, Ireland, Scotland, Austria, Australia and Canada. They have been travelling for two months together since Rio and Buenos Aires and we're the newies to the group, but they are all making a good effort to get to know us and tell us about their past adventures in South America. Our tour guide is Roland who is from Cusco, he is a really nice guy who is very keen to teach us all about the areas we are travelling and the local cultures.

So we spent a bit of the day walking around, but then found that altitude sickness is very real and very unpleasant and we both developed pretty bad headaches and Dave was feeling nauseous, so we had a nap and rested most of the day to try to relieve the feeling. Not much you can do about it, we took Soroche pills (altitude medication) and drank lots of water and some Coca tea to help. We should adjust soon, the rest of the group said it took them two - three days. Off VERY early tomorrow to Puno, Peru, crossing via Lake Titicaca and Copacobana.
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