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March 13th 2006
Published: March 13th 2006
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small bronze statuesmall bronze statuesmall bronze statue

Tiahuanaco Museum in La Paz, Bolivia
Life in La Paz is definitely La Vida Loca, the pace is crazy most of the time - traffic and people every where, protests and fiestas at every turn, street vendors seeling everything imaginable and the persistent smell of the open sewer - nice. At first, I´ll admit, I hated La Paz, it was so dirty and smelly and full-on. I intended to only stay two or three days at the most before heading over to Peru, but somehow I´ve managed to stay here nearly two weeks today, and I´m planning to stay another week or two - making a month in La Paz! I would never have guessed at the start of my trip that I would spend more time in Bolivia than any other country.

My days have been spend in the following ways:
* the usual sitting inthe plaza reading and getting sunburnt (still no sign of Evo)
* wandering the streets buying souvenirs and checking out the dried llama fetuses and animal pelts in the Witches Market
* enjoying Bolivia´s contemporary artists´works, especially Mamamamani. Some of the works were for sale, but if I biught anything, I´sd probably need to take the next plane home broke.
stained glass window with coat of armsstained glass window with coat of armsstained glass window with coat of arms

Tiahuanaco Museum in La Paz, Bolivia

* barracking for Bolivar in the local soccer game against The Strongest with a group of street kids and my face covered in Bolivar colours (blue and white). Bolivar won 2-0 yay!
* eating ice cream in the park
* sleeping, recovering from the Manu Chao concert heald in the open-air amphitheatre
* recovering from food poisoning, hay fever and ongoing altitude sickness (not so much fun)
* uploading my photos onto Travelblog, and replying to emails
* watching pirated DVDs in local restaurants that me and my friends take over for the evening
* struggling with my mangled spanish and Bolivian beauracracy to post stuff back to Australia and Canada
* occassionally doing the odd tour to Tiahuanaco, or Death Road mountain biking

On the bike riding - it´s the scariest road I´ve ever seen. If you go off the side, you´re probably not coming out again. In most parts, if a vehicle goes down, it stays there witht e people inside, because (a) no-one could have possibly made it out alive, and (b) how the hell are you going to get a tow truck down there? In a lot of places you can see where people have
crop fields on the altiplanocrop fields on the altiplanocrop fields on the altiplano

between La Paz and Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
gone over the sides, and you can´t see the bottom of the valley below, it´s that steep.
On a good day it´s a one lane dirt track. On a bad day or at night - forget about it.

Went on a guided tour of Tiahuanaco. Normally I try to avoid the herd of sheep mentality when it comes to tourist sights, but I got very little information from the Tiahuanaco museum here in La Paz, and wanted to know what I was looking at when I got out there. Turned out to be a good choice, as the guide was great, and knew everything there was to know about the site and its history. Was blown away by the huge monolith of the goddess Pachamama in the site museum. It´s about 8m high and covered with intricate carvings of other deities like Viracocha (the male equivalent of Pachamama) and a condor/man hybrid. Very cool. The rest of the archaeological site was quite interesting to wander around. Most of it is still underground, awaiting discovery, but what has been found so far is amazing.

What´s next? More La Paz - I´m going rock climbing tomorrow with a group of
the Bolivian countrysidethe Bolivian countrysidethe Bolivian countryside

between La Paz and Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
guys I´ve met here in town. More risking of life and limb, but that´s me - hardcore to the max (not)! After that, I might just get on a bus to Lake Titicaca and spend a day or two there before going to Cusco for a few days. No Machu Picchu - couldn´t be bothered, but will check out the smaller and lesser known ruins.

That´s all for now, more when I´ve actually done something!



Additional photos below
Photos: 41, Displayed: 24


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Puma statuePuma statue
Puma statue

Tiahuanaco Museum in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
a big ugly heada big ugly head
a big ugly head

Tiahuanaco Museum in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
some guy with a belly button (I can´t remember)some guy with a belly button (I can´t remember)
some guy with a belly button (I can´t remember)

Tiahuanaco Museum in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
carvings typical of Tiahuanacocarvings typical of Tiahuanaco
carvings typical of Tiahuanaco

Tiahuanaco Museum in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
a rock carving to encourage rainfalla rock carving to encourage rainfall
a rock carving to encourage rainfall

Tiahuanaco Museum in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
strange ugly statuestrange ugly statue
strange ugly statue

Tiahuanaco Museum in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
Pachamama monolithPachamama monolith
Pachamama monolith

Tiahuanaco Museum in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
the impressive Tiahuanacothe impressive Tiahuanaco
the impressive Tiahuanaco

Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
puma carvingpuma carving
puma carving

Tiahuanaco Museum in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
detail from altar stonedetail from altar stone
detail from altar stone

Tiahuanaco Museum in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
monolithmonolith
monolith

Tiahuanaco Museum in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
carving detailcarving detail
carving detail

Tiahuanaco Museum in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
carving detail on Pachamamacarving detail on Pachamama
carving detail on Pachamama

Tiahuanaco Museum in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
Viracocha carving on Pachamama monolithViracocha carving on Pachamama monolith
Viracocha carving on Pachamama monolith

Tiahuanaco Museum in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
statuestatue
statue

Tiahuanaco Museum in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia


14th March 2006

rules have been broken
1) you´re not allowed to take photos of the Pachamama! Bad Emily! Bad! 2) Everyone knows The Strongest are the REAL deal. Get with the winning team. 3) Send more packages. People like that.
16th March 2006

i felt the same way about barcelona. didn't like it when i first went there, was sad when we had to go... luckily you're not under as much of a time restraint as we were! keep up the photos, they're fantastic (just don't get into trouble taking them!!!). thanks for the postcard we got yesterday as well!

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