Page 3 of nnareda Travel Blog Posts

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz February 23rd 2015

As well as preparing for my flight tomorrow, I visited the local San Francisco cathedral museum, which after having passed it several times I felt it was my obligation to learn about it. I arrived just in time to take a tour in Spanish and I joined the tour group. The tour began with the guide describing in detail each one of the series of twelve painted pictures relating to Jesus’ crucifixion. I wasn't interested in this part of the tour, so I took the opportunity to add some new ‘religious’ Spanish vocabulary to my word bank. As the lady went through each picture, testing us to check we were listening and understood the details of the cruxifiction I zoned out and zoned back in again when she mentioned the cock in one of the pictures ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz February 22nd 2015

From about 10am, in the main square there was a tango concert starring tango singers, in preparation for the end of 'Carnaval.' Today is the last day of Carnaval in La Paz and this afternoon from midday, according to the local people in the market was the 'burial of the cucumber' in the cemetery. Intrigued I went down to the cemetery to investigate. It was yet another carnival, with the red and green cucumbers dancing around and children spraying water and foam everywhere. It took place outside the cemetery and I believe that they may have buried the cucumber there unless 'the burial of the cucumber' is just a title for the ending of Carnaval. The cemetery was interesting. Again like the cemeteries I've visited in other South American countries, they have tombs of different designs. ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz February 21st 2015

I checked into another hostel which didn’t have a club attached to it unlike the one I stayed in last night which played music from 1am to 5am. I got up with a positive attitude and went for a coffee in the local market where I met a guy called Santiago, a Bolivian, who told me that Bolivians don’t like Chileans because they charge their holiday makers a fortune to get near the coast. Like every latino does, ) he told me about there being lots of robbers in Buenos Aires and he also gave me the name of a travel agency to help get me out of La Paz . He’s guessed immediately that I’d been to Yungas (the area between Coroico and La Paz) recently as I had 15 red mosquito bites on my ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz February 20th 2015

Finally the hair-raising bus rides, us both being irritated by our insect bites and plant scratches after the hike in the tropics, not having access to wifi, the hours spent looking for hostels, the car exhaust fumes in La Paz, the sunburn, the altitude sickness combined with our not so successful trip to Coroico was finally getting to us both. I’d been getting annoyed at Ronald for not giving me space, our comfort levels were very different – what seemed like a slightly uncomfortable 4 hour bus ride for Ronald, felt for me like I’d travelled from Edinburgh to the south of Spain stuck in a can of sardines on the back of a child’s bicycle with deflated tyres speeding over the biggest bumps possible. Also, Ronald’s spontaneous attitude of ‘lets see as we go ’ ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Coroico February 19th 2015

The Corte de Luz (the blackout) due to a burnt out transformer, which happened two days ago today provoked a march through the town to the main square and brought about a town meeting attended by all residents of Coroico where various speeches were made regarding three points. First of all, everybody in the square stood up to sing the national anthem of Coroico. Then one speaker, stood up in the middle of the square with a microphone and said ‘Residents of Coroico, we are here today to reclaim our rights as Bolivians……’ It was peaceful thankfully and beautiful to see a community work together for a better future. The first point was regarding the sharing out of the land. The land of Coroico used to all belong to the church but the scenic parts (the ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Coroico February 18th 2015

At breakfast we learned that the transformer which delivers electricity to this town carries electricity all the way from Cochabamba, Ronald’s home town and is susceptible to getting damaged any where along the line due to bad weather. This time there had been a strong wind in one of the regions and the transformer had burnt out. Somebody heard on the radio that at 6pm this evening it will be turned on again. Of course all the electricians were in bed, drunk after celebrating carnival so couldn't fix it any sooner. We ate well today. Breakfast was included at the hostel – banana and papaya, bread with butter and jam, nescafe with hot milk. Then, we went down to the local market for lunch and ate eggs, meat, rice, bread and fried banana. We climbed up ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Yungas Road February 17th 2015

La Paz is still in fiesta. Children are still racing around with water pistols and firecrackers line the streets as a way of celebrating. They are so noisy, you never know where the explosives are and when they do go off everybody crouches down with their hands over their ears. If this is a party, I’d hate to see what Bolivia is like during a revolution, or a period of political instability. I was also surprised today to see a young girl of 10 years old working in the trufe /minibus and taking our fare. Often trufes have a driver and a person who collects the fare from the passengers. It is common here to see young children working to make money for the family. Poorer people tend to sell hand-made products and richer people own ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz February 16th 2015

Ronald and I didn't know that today was the 'real' carnival or as Ronald put it 'the adult' carnival. He had headed off to Tiwanaku alone this very morning to study the museums there whilst I stayed in La Paz to finish a few tasks during the day and evening. From my hotel I could see the festival. It started at about midday, finished at 7pm and included groups from all regions from Bolivia, unlike yesterday's festival which had only included communities from the province of La Paz. Each one had its own dancers, own band, own rhythm, own costume and its own dance sequence. It was beautiful. The traffic had been cut off on the main avenue so the dancers could perform, there were chairs for the spectators (at a price so most people sat ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz February 16th 2015

I’d asked Ronald to go on to the next place so I could finish a few things off in La Paz and we could then meet up tomorrow, which he agreed to. As well as getting a few things done (things that can only be done when I have access to wifi – most of my planning requires wifi) whilst I really enjoy travelling with Ronald and enjoy his company I wanted to be alone for one day and night in this capital city to be sure I could be independent and look out for myself as I had been able to do during my trip up to now. I would be horrified to find that I had to rely solely on anybody but myself to carry out my plans and therefore even when I have ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz February 15th 2015

After the festival had finished and we’d shared a delicious pizza in an Italian restaurant the day started to turn into a comedy of errors for us both which wasn't quite as funny as the water bombs, foam or pistols were combined, although I still managed to find it hilarious. The festival had started four hours later than it was due (I think waiting four hours is quite normal in Bolivian culture – the notion of time is very different to general European culture) but we had banked on getting to Tiahanacu in the afternoon and hit some museums on pre-Inca tribes. By the time we were ready to go after the festival, had eaten, collected our bags and taken them up to Ronald’s aunts house at the top of La Paz and walked to find ... read more

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