Winter in La Paz

La Paz Travel Blog

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La Paz!

La Paz proved to be a great place to spend my summer working for the United Nations, of course over here it was winter. 

I arrived in la paz at around 5 in the morning after the worst flight I ever had in my life.  Next to me sat a nice looking old fellow.  Turns out he was in charge of a group of young Christians on their way to Sucre to spread the word of god.  First they need to spread the word of manners, because they were the most obnoxious hypocritical group I ever met.  Luckily the plane flight to La Paz was by far my most disliked moment in Bolivia, and the rest was magical, yes this even includes breaking my leg.

  As the night flight continued I started to get cold feet about my latest mission to Bolivia.  At the time a new leader took over named Evo Morales.  The USA was not to happy with the events and Bolivia was on the verge of civil war between the east and west mainly over mineral and oil royalties!  The main reason for my regrets on the plane flight proved to be fatigue, not because the flight was long, or because it was at night, but because the god damn Christian leader was snoring, and when he wasn't that he was having dweeby Christians ask questions to find out about their itinerary. 

Day 1:  Play Cards in Hotel in Santa Cruz

Day 2:  Take Bus to Sucre

Day 3:  Sing

Day 4:  Help build a church

Day 5:  More church

Day 6:  Back to Santa Cruz, play cards in hotel 'cause its too dangerous

Day 7  Go back to the USA, fill out your college application to Bob Jones University and write about your bolivia experience.

Mount Illimani in the distance

OK so I'm not giving the Christians fare shake, but wow 8 hours of snoring straight to your ear you get biased!  OK so the flight was coming to a close, they said get ready for landing, and WOAH it was something like this:

The Landing:  Crew please gets ready for landing.... 30 seconds later.... CLUNK, well that was one abrupt landing!  This was followed by the plane doing a nice bounce on the runway.  It then took a LONG time for the plane to stop.  The reason for this crazy landing is that the airport was located in El Alto, elevation 4,000 meters.  As an engineer I observed that the plane did not need to descend much of a distance, and the plane slowed down at a slower rate due to the thin air, or low air pressure.  Any engineers care to comment? 

OK so the flight stopped, time to get the hell off the plane, and away from annoying snoring jesus boy.  Yea so I get off the plane.

  The customs agent  was an old native Bolivian with a huge gun and in winter gear.  Wow and when I breathed nothing came in, the air was THAT thin. So you go through customs, yada yada yada! 

Warning:  Check to see how long of an entry visa you get.  The customs agent has a little space to write in for how long you are allowed to stay.  At the time Americans can stay for a maximum of 90 days, but sometimes they give you less time.  When you leave you will then get a fine or deported as an illegal immigrant for overstaying your visa.  To combat these ask the agent for more time or when you leave the country bribe the official. 

One other things for Americans to worry about in La Paz is that if you visit the embassy you may be asked to keep track of the nationalities of people you may meet.  So I was asked when I visited aid centers to try to get a count on the number of Cubans and Venezuelans working there, where they live, and what they are doing.

Me and a view of La Paz
  Because of people doing this, a lot of aid groups have been banned from Bolivia, such as the Peace Corps.  This is not a big deal to do this, but some American Fulbright scholars had a big fit about it…. For shame.  And no you do not need to participate, so don’t do it! 

So I got through customs, found my partner peter, who is my partner in crime, and working with me.  Next we found Juan Carlos, our boss, and a downright great guy. 

As we hit the road the sun started to rise over La Paz.  The city is built in a crater of a volcano, on the rim is the airport and the town to El Alto.  The city had a delightful cloud of smog over it as the sunrays fell on the city.  Truly a beautiful site. 

La Paz is divided into three main parts.  The upper part is El Alto which is located on the top of the city.  It is the most impoverished part, and the main river in La Paz is filled with its sewage. 

The middle part is the downtown area.  This is where the touristy areas are.  The main thing to see here is the saint Francis area, which contains the witch’s marker.  Additionally is the downtown and the financial / embassy area where my office (well Juan Carlos's) is.  This area has lots of chic restaurants and cafe's filled with ex pats.  The night life is mainly old guys hitting the bottle. Also in the area is a large industrial market where I spend much of my time getting supplies. 

After going down a large hill there is the rich area of town.  Many times the road was blocked by protesters so the wealthy folks can't get to work and to complain about the latest civil rights issue.  This is where my home was, in the district of irapavi.  This area has lots of great foreign food, and is the home of the Lebanese and German communities.  Also it has a hospital ran by the Cuba.... better not let george dubya bush find out about that. 

Stay tuned for my reviews about some of the more interesting aspects of La Paz


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La Paz!
La Paz!
Mount Illimani in the distance
Mount Illimani in the distance
Me and a view of La Paz
Me and a view of La Paz
La Paz
photo by: wilfredoc2009