Day 2 in La Paz
La Paz Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
Sunday in La Paz was nothing like I expected! With the Catholic influence I assumed all would be in church like they do in so many other places. However, with the extreme poverty level, these beautiful people are not able to take hours out of their business time for mass. Which is also when I realized that the churches are unlocked throughout the day, every day, to allow the working class people the opportunity to go when they are able.
Never in my life did I image people could work so hard. Okay, the women...not so much the men. The women seem to live on the sidewalk next to their bundle of goods. I would see them before the sun came up carrying massive weight up these long, long hills. Such small, old women carrying so much.
I caught a shared taxi (Toyota mini-van with about 15 of us stuffed in it) to the cemetary to find dancing and music in the streets. The priests were outside of the cemetary and church. A local explained that this was kind of an alternative auto insurance. Every Sunday all of the taxi drivers, bus drivers, etc., would line up at the church to be blessed by the priest. There was much singing, dancing, music and yelling...of course, honking. The women were in their finest bowlers and the men...well, they were wearing what looked like shiny tin cans with tassle. It was fun to watch and listen to.
I got the nerve up to buy a kind of ice cream from someone on the street and wow was it good! So yummy and yet again, didn't get so much as an upset stomach. Let me tell you...they make awesome ice cream!
The shared taxis are hilarious to watch. There is basically a "barker" at the door, yelling out all of the destinations they will take you. They just pop a squat at the door, yell out and you jump in. If you don't mind cramped legs and a crazy, bumpy ride, this is the way to go. I went all over La Paz in the same taxi looking around for only 2 bolivianos ($0.16/US). I learned quickly to just not watch where we were driving. The swerving and bumps and honking and yelling and people jumping on and off...what chaos! I can't wait to go back. I found out they don't stop at red lights, stop signs or even pedestrians in the road. You better be able to run quickly.
I stopped off at the Witches Market and really got an eyeful. Llama fetuses, all kinds of dead animals, bones, potions, herbs and statues. If I had not still had 2 weeks ahead of me of traveling I would have brought back some trinkets. However, I moved on after receiving a statue to bring me luck, fertility and love.
Before I knew it I was back in the main plaza, wandering through the markets. Many of the old women remembered me (it is hard to blend in when you are 6 ft tall in a country of very small people) and tried to talk to me. Again, I began to remember my old Spanish lessons from childhood and when they slowed down a little I was able to talk a little with them.
The one thing that really seemed strange throughout Bolivia was seeing these women with the baby on the back, the bags of leaves, the bowlers and.... A CELL PHONE. It was so bizzare!! I wish I could have taken a picture, but like I said, they are very shy!
This was another day of markets, food that was amazing, and lovely people. Tomorrow I am on to Tiahuanaco for the day.