The highest 'capital' city in the world

La Paz Travel Blog

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From our unofficial city lookout

Whilst technically not Bolivia's capital, nor particularly high (at least when you've been to 5,000m), La Paz is nonetheless a very cool city. Built in a canyon (why?!), exploring the city has meant us taking our time - steep canyon sides leave you out of breath quite quickly at altitude.

About halfway through our South American adventure, the last few days have been very relaxed. We've wandered the streets, haggled at markets, eaten plenty of street meat, played pool, watched a couple of films, taken afternoon siestas and generally taken things easy. We were actually meant to have left La Paz today, but some random village has blockaded the road our bus was meant to take, meaning we're stuck here an extra day before leaving (hopefully) tomorrow. I'm not surprised that road blockades seem common here, just seems to be part of life.

Locals in the plaza
It's the first time that something has gone wrong with our planned timings, but we're both in such a laid back mood that it's hardly bothered us at all.

A few favourite moments from our time in La Paz:

1. Stumbling across some random ceremony on Sunday morning - full blown brass band in military uniform playing a mix of Bolivian music and other classics including YMCA and some Simon & Garfunkel. We still have no idea what the ceremony was for, but enjoyed sitting in the sun watching and listening.

2. Trying to cross roads at night when red traffic lights seem to signify that a vehicle should stop only if there is traffic coming that has priority. In fact the traffic here in general is amusing - micros (small minivans) are constantly stopping in inconvenient places to pick passengers up, who have somehow understood the torrent of place names shouted from the open door of the minivan as it's being driven.

Bolivian civil war scene in a museum
Add to that police with whistles who attempt to direct the traffic during the day, countless taxis and pedestrian crossings that make no sense and don't actually work, and the result is quite simply a mess. Walking is by far the best option.

3. Trying llama meat. Sarah ordered it and to her credit ate most of it, despite it being quite gamey. Apparently alpaca is nicer, so we'll keep an eye out for that.

4. Mixing with the locals - we managed to find a random plaza yesterday for lunch and were the only tourists in sight. Spent the grand sum of 24 bolivianos (about £2.20) on a couple of salteñas (meat pies), chorizo sandwiches and a "super multi-vitamin" smoothie. Playing cards after eating, we were subject to many a bemused local looking at us as they walked past.

5. Trying to find an official look-out point for a view over the city at least twice and failing miserably. To be fair, half an hours walk up a steep hillside tends to give you a pretty good view anyway.

6. Watching the England v Australia and Wales v NZ rugby games in the hostel bar, although the results left something to be desired...

All going well we should be at Lake Titicaca tomorrow, but in Bolivia it seems that you can never be sure!


sylviandavid says:
A fun read... sylvia
Posted on: Jan 22, 2010
bandrcarey says:
Dear Luke and Sarah, Good to read you are relaxed and just over halfway, will make the countdown to us go quicker .
My exam is over, and I am able to relax into a project much more to my liking without the guilts! dad is taking Jock to puppy school tonight and I get to put my feet up as he is bringing home a thai meal for supper! Life is good with us, Love Mum and Dad

Posted on: Nov 10, 2009
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From our unofficial city lookout
From our unofficial city lookout
Locals in the plaza
Locals in the plaza
Bolivian civil war scene in a muse…
Bolivian civil war scene in a mus…
La Paz
photo by: wilfredoc2009