Published: December 24th 2008December 22nd 2008
Only a short 12 hour bus trip from unuyi to la paz which was actually on a pretty comfy bus considering what i was warning the guys about. Had a bit of bad luck in the bus station though. One of the guys were travelling with Ben went the toilet and while he was gone his bag was robbed. Passport, laptop, the lot. All you can say is its all replaceable, so its all good(I'm not sure he would agree).....
So Loki Hostel (again) for 12 days. No sure my liver is going to handle this. Its a party zone and after 6 days my mediocre Spanish has descended into a farce. We went to the post office and spent an extra hour there mumbling crap and being shouted at (our ignorance)!!
To take a break from booze we decided we needed to get out and about. So a trip to crazy San Pedro prison was in order. Its one of the most surreal things i have ever done. San Pedro prison was made famous in a few books written by drug smuggling westerners due to the fact if you have money your not really in prison. The inmates
buy or rent their cells(which cost up to 800 dollars, considering most people live on 1 or 2 dollars a day a fortune!!). In the cells they have TV's, fridges etc and in the prison their are restaurants, games rooms, gym's etc and the inmates kids and wives live in the prison with them. It became clear pretty soon that they live better than the average Bolivian and some even commit crimes to extend their stays(its only an extra year for murder while in prison, thanks for telling us that!!)
Technically you are suppose to be visiting someone to get in. Me, Melissa and the English lads went up to some south African junky outside who brought us in. It was 25 euro (costly for Bolivia) and thats split between your guide, the guards and the head boss of the sections of the prison. We were pretty intimidated and scared going in but it soon became clear that although we had our guide and 3 inmate guards flanking our every move for protection, it was in everyones interest to have 40 to 50 tourists coming in and paying 25 euro per day. And their lies the moral aspect of
contributing to it for our entertainment.
But anyway off we went with our guide from Portugal who is there for smuggling coke. He was a good guy and happy to explain anything we asked. One of the first things he told us is that a guy was stabbed to death 2 weeks ago. Nice!!. So for 2 hours we walked around the prison with druggies, murderers and the rest of the bad the world has to offer. We went into cells, seen were they cooked dinner, made stuff to sell to tourists, played football and socialised with friends and family. Everyone was actually very friendly(except for the guy the lads took a photo of eating) and you had to stop and tell yourself were you were cos it feels like a small village. He also explained how easy it was to escape(it was, a couple of americans did it) and we even got to see and listen to a born again christian rock band which was weird.
At the end of the tour we then tipped our guide and he led us to the gate. This turned out to be the scariest part. The left us crammed with
about 200 Bolivians for about 5 minutes and we were wondering would we ever get out. We did and after a discreet photo of the prison entrance (the cops with machine guns and shotguns don't like it and who are we to argue) we went back the hostel relieved for a well earned beer!! Mad!!
Onto Cholita wrestling!!
Noticed this posted up on the hostel and we thought threres no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than watching women's pretend(and actually) beat the hell out of each other!! So we took a half hour bus which climbed up the valley(see great photos) to the top of la paz. On the way we stopped for a photo just were a van went over the side an hour before. The leisurely attitude of the mountain recovery didn't bode well for any ones survival but that's Bolivia!!! We paid tourist prices (8 euro) which gave us the tourist rewards of ring side seats and free popcorn.
The wrestling was actually a mixture of WWF type wrestling, Cholita's and men beating the hell out of cholita's which was frankly disgusting and at that point we wanted to leave. But the
fun bit was the cholita's(cholita'a are the traditionally dressed Bolivian women). The have a grudge kind of bit which was silly but one of the women was genuinely funny although we couldn't understand what she was saying. The match was crazy. One of them threw flour all over the crowd(which the Bolivians loved) and water all over the tourists. They even spilled into the crowd and one was launched over the barrier onto two Norwegian girls which was hilarious. They were pretty crap wrestlers like the men and just looked like giant kids but because of this you could see they genuinely hurt each other some times. It went on a little to long but was well worth it.
Now were just gonna drink the Xmas away in good aul loki hostel which is even including the turkey and stuffing. Cant wait. And then were waiting for Brian to pop over for New Years for more partying(My liver just yelped!!!).
There are more photos below