Countries 6 Hotels 19 Cars 35
Flights 12:flying time 46.52 hours
Rickshaws 4 Buses 3 Elephant 1 Boat 1
Cog-wheel train 2 Cable cars 6 Subway 4 Ferry 2
Minibus 23 Coach 2 Catamaran 1 Funicular 3
Pick up truck 1 Land Cruiser 8
La Paz, full name La Ciudad de Nuestra Senora de La Paz, ‘The City of Our Lady of Peace’, although the city has nearly all the government power, Sucre is the capital of Bolivia. La Paz has an altitude of 3,632 meters above sea level, set in a natural bowl in the middle of the altiplano, with the snow-capped Mount Illimani watching over the city. In La Paz, the rich live in the valley while the poorer people live on the hills. This, in part, is due to the issue of the potential of erosion of the hillside in heavy rains, and so the collapse of the houses.
Well what a start to the tour of La Paz this morning. We took a trip on the Mi Teleferico cable car, the highest urban cable car in the world. It opened it 2014 and provides fantastic views over the city.
It’s like the underground only in the sky, although there are only two lines at the moment there are a total of nine lines planned. Local people use it to get from the hills of the city to the valley. We got the yellow line and then changed to the green line, it’s a very efficient way to get around the city, and one can see all of the city from the car as it travels down the valley.
I then went to the Valley of the Moon. Here erosion over thousands of years has formed the clay into this strangely wonderful landscape.
I was pleased to see the women at the entrance was in traditional dress and she was happy to pose, and did so very well, for a photo.
In about hundred years this won’t be here because the rain will have eroded it away.
You can just see a patch of green grass in this photo, this is the highest golf course in the world. We then went for a walk around where old colonial houses still exist, unfortunately the government didn’t recognise the importance of these houses and didn’t invest in their preservation. I couldn’t get a decent photo, but the buildings weren’t that interesting. The majority of the buildings in the city are modern. What is always easy to get a shot of is the houses high on the hills, which can be seen in the background in these photos. There are also some lovely little green spaces in the midst of all the noisy traffic in the city.
Next was a visit to the square where the government buildings are, this whole area is cordoned off and police in riot gear are everywhere, sitting on park benches, lining up against shops, anywhere where there is a seat really as this is where the protesters want to come. The interesting item here is the clock which has the numbers back to front, according to Bolivia’s foreign minister, David Choquehuanca, the horological initiative is intended to help Bolivians rediscover their indigenous roots.
This is the ‘Witches market’ where locals have their fortune told by having their coca leaves read, or a potion can be made to cure an ailment.
Along side herbs and potions are llama foetuses, and dead, dried, baby llamas. They do look unusual hanging amongst the more conventional store items.
When constructing a new building, an offering of a llama is made to ‘Pashamama’, the mother of the earth, this is for good luck and although modern construction companies don’t promote this practice, the construction workers are very superstitious and will still perform this ritual for good luck. The llama is presented with a selection of candies, as shown by these photos of two examples of how the offerings are made. My guide suggests that the majority of buildings in La Paz will have this type of offering in its foundations.
Llamas will self abort their babies if conditions are harsh, and baby llamas can die in the cold. Farmers collect these and sell them to the vendors in the witches market. My final photo is this shot showing a couple of electrical cables in a street of La Paz.