La Paz, Bolivia

30 May 2004 10:04 pm

La Paz

I recommend arriving to La Paz by air. There really is no capital like La Paz. Imagine flying over the Altiplano, eye to eye with the white caps topping Cordillera Real, when all of a sudden the earth falls away. The bottom just drops out. What you get, what is inside the massive crevass, is La Paz. This capital of over a million fills a dramatic valley next to the Cordillera Real with rough terra cotta buildings on all sides and remarkably sky scrapers popping up out if the bottom.

Most gringos I’ve met don’t enjoy La Paz. I admit it looks rather delapidated as you walk the streets. What La Paz lacks in architecture it excels in interesting looking people. Everyone is here, from very traditionally dressed panchamamas in their bowler hats and big skirts to business men in well tailored suits to girls in tight low cut ‘Britney’ jeans, to the shoe shin boys, their identities hidden behind in black ski masks. I never saw so many street markets. Some folks sit beside piles of cheap sweaters, some sit beside bushels of purple potatoes or mandarin oranges. Others sell Oreos and Coca Cola. So many people, sellers, taxis, and buses and minibuses you don’t walk down the street you wade down the street.

The shopping is great here. Everything is Bolivia is cheap, cheap, cheap. I’ve gotten a little carried away with Alpaca. There is a store near Sargarnaga Street called CompArt. CompArt is a cooperative which markets Bolivian made textiles and pays the craftspeople a fare wage. I’m sure that I broke the store record for Alpaca scarf purchases. It seemed like a great bargain until I paid for the shipping. Yikes.

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One Response to “La Paz, Bolivia”

  1. winni (June 21st, 2004 at 3:44 am)

    Hi Laura,
    thanks for your message, you seem to have a wonderful time in South America. I was over in
    San Francisco in February and had lots of fun with my friend there. At the moment I am very busy at home and in school, but it will have an end soon. I wish you a good time, have fun and take care