From the dizzy heights of La Paz .............

South America
May 23rd 2011
Published: May 25th 2011
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After arriving in La Paz yesterday and spending the afternoon resting we decide to head out on a sightseeing tour today. On the way from the airport yesterday Denise spotted a double decker red bus, we don´t normally do the "tourist" thing but still feeling a little dizzy with the altitute we decide that spending a couple of hours being driven around La Paz is the best option to see this sprawling city.

After breakfast we head across the square to catch the bus, it´s BS50 each (5 pounds) which is quite expensive for the average Bolivian (this would buy a three course meal). We encounter our first problem, they don´t accept US dollars and the hotel cambio does not work in the mornings, banks don´t open until 9.30 and with 5 minutes before the bus departs we head off to find a cash machine (how much is this costing me in commission - Jc). We hop onto the top deck of the bus put our headsets on and plug into the Japanese socket for the English commentary! ....this is one wierd country! We set off and start to climb up to the main part of the City, we are staying in Sopacachi which is lower down the valley and has the best hotels etc.. (the higher the altitude the poorer it is). The action really takes place in the upper parts of La Paz where there is a mass of streets that wind their way skywards. We pass lots of bustling market areas where local woman dressed in their bowler hats and huge skirts are selling everything from boiled soup to "designer" type clothes. Denise marvels at the secretarial services on offer in the financial district.... you can dictate a letter to one of the ladies sat on the street typing 60 words a minute on a manual typewriter! (will upload photo when we get home).

Mid morning we head back to the hotel for a rest and decide to take an afternoon tour on the same bus to Zona Sur. Zona Sur is in the lower part of the valley and consequently a more affluent area. The tour takes us to Valle de la Luna which is 10km from the city, it isn´t really a valley but a eroded hillside maze of canyons and pinnacles that has lots of species of cactus growing there. The bus stops for 20 minutes and for BS15 you can enter the national park to take a closer look. It was a pleasant enough trip but the morning City Tour was much better.

We head back to the hotel again for some more rest (this altitude business is really not funny). After a meal in the hotel restaurant we decide to head to bed for an early night, it´s an early start again tomorrow to rendevous with a bus to Copacabana........ p.s. JC is on strike, this one and the next couple of blogs are from Denise....


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