Return to Home Page

September 29, 2012

Vagabonding Field Report: living the high life in La Paz

A lady at the witches market in la PazCost/day: $15

Whats the strangest thing youve seen lately?

Hundreds of llama foetuses at the witches market in the centre of La Paz. People buy them and bury them under their porches to bring luck and prosperity to their families. It wasn’t the most pleasing sight for a vegetarian, although I’m told most have died naturally.

Describe an interesting conversation you had with a local:

We couchsurfed for a couple of days in one of the more wealthy areas of La Paz and went to a house party with our host. It was fascinating to see a side of La Paz away from the touristic centre. We met a man who is creating La Paz’s first raw food restaurant, another who, after being expelled five times, now runs his own alternative after-school learning club. We also talked with the captain of the ultimate frisbee team who is trying to popularise the sport in Bolivia. After training in the dizzying heights of La Paz, his team will be at an advantage on lower ground.

What do you like about where you are? Dislike?

La Paz is the most dramatically situated city I have ever seen, built into the side of a mountainous valley, and surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Sheer mountain face punctuates the precariously positioned houses and, if you venture further afield, you can explore the otherworldly landscape of the Luna Valley. This was enough to make me love the city but if I could change one thing, it would be the altitude. I found it deeply uncomfortable never being able to get on top of my breath, and it made exploring the city very tiring.

Describe a challenge you faced:

A street in La PazThe altitude was the biggest challenge we faced. At one point I had to see a doctor and I was starting to get a pain in my chest, which the powers of Google told me was a bad sign. It turned out it was nothing to worry about, but it was scary at the time. I think it’s good to take these things seriously, just in case they are, but also be wary of scaring yourself with self-diagnosis.

What new lesson did you learn?

I learned that the traditional bowler hats you see Bolivian women wearing originate in the UK where they were worn by railway workers. However, I’m not sure how the craze caught on, and stuck, for Bolivia’s women. The hats are often worn as a sign of social status, some costing much more than a monthly salary.

Where next?

Next up is Ecuador, followed by a month-long teacher training course in Mexico.

Read more about our travels on our blog Bridges and Balloons.

Posted by | Comments (0) 
Category: South America, Vagabonding Field Reports

Leave a Reply

Main

Bio

Books

Stories

Essays

Video

Interviews

Events

Writers

Marco

Paris

Vagabonding.net

Contact


Vagabonding Audio Book at Audible.com

Marco Polo Didnt Go There
Rolf's new book!


Vagabonding
   Vagabonding

RECENT COMMENTS

Roger: My family and I recently returned from a three week trip to Europe (Germany,...

Ric Moore: Coming home after 4 months, I was in a bit of a funk. ‘Nothing’...

Peter Korchnak @ Where Is Your Toothbrush?: Agreed with Lynne, well said. The...

M.Jagger: Rod, Blimey….It was a blast partying with you at the local...

Ava Collopy: I’m currently working on a new book and website project to represent...

Caroline Macomber: I’m beginning to feel that it doesn’t end. But that I...

Stephen: Does it end, though? I’ve gone through several cycles of this over the...

Margie: I will never be a tour guide, but the prospective you have shown here will help...

Lynne Nieman: Well said! Although not a long term traveler like you, I have taken a few...

Dorje: Hi all. I was born in Kathmandu in ’71, my father ran the Rose Mushroom...

SPONSORED BY :



CATEGORIES

TRAVEL LINKS

ARCHIVES

RECENT ENTRIES

Vagabonding Case Study: Mariellen Ward
Vagabonding book club: Chapter 11: Coming home
Maximilian I on the journey of life
Enlightening Self-inflicted Ruin Travel
Thank you, Victoria Falls.
Lost in the crowd when traveling?
Can words hurt as much as sticks and stones?
Vagabonding Field Report: The Penguins of Phillip Island
Long term travel with a family: You have to really want to do this
Alden Jones on going back to the places that obsess you


Subscribe to this blog's feed
Follow @rolfpotts