Posted by: jimndianne | January 15, 2010

The last days in La Paz

28 December 09 – 4 January 2010 La Paz

Spent an entire afternoon out on “electronics street” hunting for a new camera to replace the one accidentally dropped from the car window whilst taking a ‘must have’ shot. While it still worked, the camera screen had a large distorted crack across it and one could not see a thing through it and therefore made it a very much hit and miss process! Managed to find a new Panasonic model which would suit our purposes nicely and at the right price.

Next morning spent some time doing a few posts for the blog, which had got rather behind due to all of our touristic and social activities. The same afternoon, Gaby convinced me to try out her hairdresser as I was complaining how long and unmanageable my hair had become! So after having my hair colour done, as well as a manicure whilst the colour was taking, Willy, the owner, then gave me a great haircut and blow dry – all this for the amazing price of $A23.00. No complaints there!

Wednesday 30th January saw us waiting bright and early at the bus stop for the ‘Hop on, Hop off’ Zona Sur (south zone) double decker tourist bus.  Sitting right up on the top level  gave  us a great view as we trundled down the steep hills from La Paz, all the while

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hearing an audio presentation in English about local landmarks (also done in five other languages). The big thing to watch out for was the overhead power lines which dangled dangerously near our heads! No wonder they made a point of telling us not to stand up while taking photographs. The best part of the trip was to the Vallee of La Luna, (Valley of the Moon) where we alighted for around twenty minutes in order to

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walk in and around the amazing rock formations of this area, which looked for all the world just as you might imagine could be found upon the moon. From this vantage point one could also see the famous La Paz golf course which is at the highest altitude in the world, just under 4,000 metres, mentioned in an earlier post. The 1 3/4hr tour, including around the town of La Miguel, cost us 50 Bolivianos each, or $7.

After the tour finished, we walked a short distance to meet Gaby & Gerhard at the German Embassy, where pre New Year champagne was being poured before the Embassy closed for four days!

On New Years Eve our hosts had arranged a party for around twenty of their friends and colleagues, so Gaby and I spent some time preparing food for the guests. The party was a great success culminating with Michael, a Dutchman, letting off a large number of noisy, whistling and whooping fireworks in the garden to welcome in the year 2010! From the patio area, we also had the best view of every firework being sent up from the entire city of La Paz and its surrounds. Some music and dancing followed the fireworks before the guests slowly took their leave and went off home to bed.

The 1st January 2010 was spent quietly recovering at home, but on the following day, 2nd, Gerhard decided to drive us to have a look at some amazing scenery up a very steep road at the rear of their housing area. Before long, we were passing through some picturesque mountain villages, then a lovely old church and cemetery high up amongst some pinnacles of rock, looking for all the world like organ pipes in a cathedral. In the distance, the snowy peak of Mt Illimani was almost

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clear of the ever present clouds. We were on our way to a beautiful river canyon winding down, ever down through little hamlets where donkeys brayed at the roadside

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and village dogs rushed out barking to welcome us as kittens fled to the safety of mud houses. By the time we reached the river canyon it was obvious we could not easily travel further as there were huge boulders beside the river blocking our way.

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Time to turn around and retrace our steps, taking photographs all the way to remind us of this delightful piece of Bolivia. One puncture on the way back necessitated a stop to change a tyre that had been slashed by a rock. Oops!

Sunday morning, 3rd, Gaby decided to take us to a place we hadn’t yet seen, that of “tourist street” as it was known. Here of course could be found the biggest range of

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locally made gifts we’d ever seen, including hand or machine woven tablecloths and clothing items, pottery, handicrafts, jewellery and even the dead fetuses of alpacas, which are said to bring good luck when buried under a newly built home! We also paid

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a visit to the Coca Museum, spending a good amount of time there as it gave an excellent history of the Cocaine industry worldwide. Electrical and telephone cables always offer a challenge in different countries and Bolivia is no exception! Banks of meters complete the picture.

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Many tours were being advertised along the street including trips to the pre-Inca ruins, white water rafting and the famous death road. We didn’t make it to this road which is about 1 1/2 hours drive from La Paz. This road generally had on average 26 serious accidenst per year with vehicles going over the edge. In some places it has a free fall of up to 600 metres. The terrain at the bottom of the ravine is so inaccessible that anyone going over the edge will not be rescued. Today there is a much safer route on the other side of the ravine and the death road is now open to pedestrians and cyclists wanting a 45km thrill speeding down the road!!

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On Monday 4th January we again took the ‘Hop on, Hop Off’ bus tour but this time it was the Downtown Tour. Although we thought we’d already seen most of the La Paz downtown area we were pleasantly surprised to be taken to many venues new to us, including the wonderful Killikilli Lookout, which gave 360deg. views from a great height! Many other museums and galleries were pointed out along the journey as well as the fairground area and large stadium featuring names and faces of a huge number of well known celebrities recently painted upon its exterior wall.

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Responses

  1. Hi there, Great to catch up again on your travels, it all looks very interesting and different, hope that if you get over to Oz on your return that we can catch up.Life here is getting back to norm after Xmas and family staying. Take care Cheers

  2. Hi you guys,
    just read the last blog about Tiwanaku and was wondering if you read anithing about the big celebration that was held there yesterday on ocasion of Evo’s 2nd presidency?


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