Day 103 - We arrived in La Paz and walked 3 minutes to our hostel, where we were greeted by a really cute kitten. We left our bags and went out to explore and were drawn to the ‘English pub’ boasting a proper fry up - passable bacon but a very odd textured sausage (llama?!) and definitely not heinz baked beans… we miss you England! They kindly put the football on, much to Jess’s delight, and we watched Arsenal vs Lyon for a bit, then headed to the cable car (a whole network of them link up the city, pretty cool) and went up to ‘El Alto’, a district that overlooks the city which has the biggest market in South America every Sunday - yup it was huge! The size of a town in itself, with every possible item for sale that you can imagine, and with a reputation that you’re belongings may well disappear and turn up in the market the following week, so we walked around with our hands in our pockets for a while marvelling at the magnitude, then bought a mr whippy and headed back down to check into our hostel. Later we had a cheap dinner in a local restaurant, two meals and drinks for less than a fiver! Although the price is right, we won’t miss the standard ‘pummeled piece of meat plus multiple carbs’ fare that is Bolivia’s signature dish.
Day 104 - Spent the morning/lunch time on a walking tour around the city learning about the fascinating and frankly disturbing culture of Bolivia, starting with the prison which is situated right in the heart of the city next to one of the main squares and is notorious for being run completely by the inmates because there are too few guards to manage the inside so they only guard the outside and let the prisoners get on with it! Next we toured the witches market where you can buy all your potions and amulets, including llama fetuses to sacrifice to Pachamama (goddess of the earth) if you want her blessing to build a new house - apparently (and this may be an urban myth, plus PARENTAL ADVISORY WARNING) if you are planning to build a big building you need to make a big sacrifice to Pachamama, and the usual llama fetus is not enough so you need to sacrifice a human being, by finding a homeless person who is unlikely to be missed and plying them with alcohol until they pass out, then burying them alive in the foundations as an offering! Eeek! Then we went to the main square and learned about the history under the famous backwards clock (the president wants to ‘show Bolivia is starting a new time’ or something so he changed the main square clock tower so the numbers are the wrong way round), and then we headed to a pub to hear more about their president’s antics, but I won’t talk about it here as apparently a Bolivian recently was arrested just for making fun of a politicians appearance on facebook! In the afternoon we went on a shopping expedition to make sure we really did have enough of the South American tourist tat for souvenirs, and later we relived our youth by heading out to the ‘Wild Rover’ hostel to party with people who have never heard of a floppy disk or the millenium bug!
Day 105 - Write off / rest day :-D but here are our Bolivian highlights!