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Published: February 24th 2019
The combination of a cold and altitude mean I didn’t sleep well and have a pounding headache. When we arrived in La Paz, some of my toiletries had leaked, the rest had inflated to almost bursting point. That’s pretty much how my head feels. After breakfast, the old man sets off to explore the city and I take some painkillers and return to bed to regroup.
By midday I’m ready, the old man is recalled from his cable car extravaganza and we head for old La Paz.
The secret is to do everything slowly, which incidentally I’m rather good at. We start at the 18th century Church of San Francisco, where we take a guided tour which includes the cloisters, the church, then up a tiny, dark staircase onto the roof. Just as I poke my head through the door at the top, someone throws themselves off the tower block opposite. It takes a while for my eyes to adjust to the light – then I spot the rope – it was a bungee jump!
Once I have calmed down, and caught my breath from climbing onto a church roof at altitude, we can enjoy the wonderful views
and see how each roof tile is different because men made them by shaping clay round their thighs.
On to the Museo de Arte Nacional, another 18th century building, this time, bright red. It’s quite dark inside, with only the paintings illuminated. Even so, the old man is the only person not to successfully negotiating himself round the room. He trips over a bench and sends it and himself flying.
The art is mostly religious, and sometimes weird. In the basement are installations made of confetti and you can enter a large confetti filled room and create your own confetti moments.
We visit the plaza Murillo, which is surrounded by important buildings; the cathedral, the Palacio de Gobierno and the Palacio Legislativo. It is also surrounded by pigeons – kamikaze pigeons.
No for my first (the old man’s second) cable car extravaganza. There are several lines, each a different colour, all over the city. We get on the Celeste line in the old town and head south east before changing to Blanca, which runs for miles hanging above the street. We get off briefly at Plaza Villarroel for great views across the suburbs in the hills
with the higher snow capped mountains behind. Then onto Naranja heading west again. Finally, Roja which starts dangling above the cemetery, then climbs 500 metres up to El Alto. The temperature difference at the top is substantial.
We descend on the cable car and walk back to the hotel through the market. The whole of La Paz smells of fried food and everywhere are markets where little, round Bolivian ladies in traditional dress with bowler hats perched precariously on their heads, sell all manner of goods, but mostly food. I wonder what their profit margins are like – they always seem to be eating the merchandise.
In the evening we go for dinner. The old man orders a coca beer and seems genuinely surprised when he announced it tastes like leaves. Then back to the hotel to plan another onslaught on the cable car system tomorrow.
Tot: 0.11s; Tpl: 0.05s; cc: 6; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0191s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.2mb