La Paz – First Impressions Aren’t Always Correct

I got to say I couldn’t get out of La Paz fast enough, when I first arrived. I just found it so dirty, crowded and totally uninviting. Maybe I was spoiled by Peru. Some how I expected this poorer country to still have the same just on a smaller scale. But it did not.

After finding a new hostel, Inca’s Room. I decided I just needed to get out of this place so I hit the tour companies. By 10a.m. I was booked into a 3 day trek up to Huayna Potosi (next blog post). And just wandered the streets. Heading to the market area for some fresh mangoes, I was goosed. Seriously, I thought the Peruvians were bad, but at least they weren’t just grabbing you on the street. Man, good decision to get out of here.

Witches market, although interesting with the hanging dried, baby llamas and jars of llama fetuses. Which are suppose to buried in the four corners of a new house. It is not as big as expected. It’s only a couple of stores down one street.

Consequently, before I left for my trek I was unimpressed with the unofficial capital of Bolivia and thought it would just be an unfortunate but necessary stopping ground between tours and getting back to Peru.

However, when I got back I found a charm I missed when I was just seeing it from the ground. Up high on the hills you appreciate the vastness of this city. Set upon and against mountains, rock faces and cliffs it’s amazing it exists. Majority of buildings and homes are tall rectangles with square windows all symmetrical, in various pastel colours. From above it looks like Lego pieces and considering the urban planning of this city it might just have been pieced together by a child. Back on level ground. Not sea level mind you, more like 3600m or so. I could appreciate these buildings and homes and more importantly the millions of people trying to live here.

I wondered the street fascinated by the row upon row of street vendor carts. Filled with toiletries, a dozen in a row of sweets, others with street meat, mostly hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken sandwiches. My favorite is the row of juice and cake ladies, with the best banana bread and homemade flakies. Puffed pastry and cream. Oh and of course the best salty deep fried pockets of dough filled with vegetables and potatoes that you stand around the cart and eat, adding one of 6 different toppings to. The toppings are red, green, yellow, orange, spicy, sweet, sour, anything…and fabulous. Woo, can’t wait to be back in La Paz.  Can’t forget the dried fruit and nut stands.  The best beer nuts ever.  Who needs the Ex.

I realize that a lot of posts revolve around food. There is a lot of goods eat here. Going home for a diet.


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