La Paz, Bolivia 2009
Date of entry: June 30, 2009
Just a quick note about La Paz. The city is some 3,400 metres up (note that the info I give will be rife with inaccuracy, but I feel renders it even more impressive given I am just speaking from flagrant drunken or passing memory!), and is the most inaccessible and rugged city and terrain in the world.
If you have read Marching Powder you will know about the famous San Pedro prison, and it being an internal economy in prison 🔒 where the inmates can bid for their own property amongst other things…..
Also death road ☠️ exists here, which is reportedly the most dangerous road in the whole world, given its consistently high rate of casualties.
Well… Travelling with the fluent Spanish (pretty much native speaking) Marten, I have learnt that travelling becomes a whole new experience when you know the language, intimately.
The deep irony and interesting thing here is that I have much more a South American look than Marten, being “Brazilian”, yet the pale faced Swede speaks the Spanish which befriends and throws people.
So getting into La Paz at 9.30pm at night, it was via the cheapest collectivo ever. I think we paid 4 pounds 💷 to cross country and go all the way from Puno in Peru to La Paz in Bolivia!
And no issues crossing the border this time other than falling asleep 😴 in the taxi we got to the border, and smacking my head so hard against the dashboard that it gathered a laugh from a local, a look of horror from Marten, and a smirk 😏 from all others.
Their cars are seemingly made of cardboard rather than fibreglass or anything resembling….So, ironically, I think I left a bigger scratch in the dashboard then I did my head. Whilst the others were engaging in a chorus of laughs, I was busy eyeballing the driver and hoping he wouldn´t charge extra 🤑
I was already paying $2 for a 2 hour trip. Bastard.
Anyway, back to La Paz.
The country, having only really experienced it for one day and evening, is disgustingly cheap, very topographically and economically diverse.
Upwards of 55% of the country live below the poverty line (less than $1 US Dollar a day) and some 60% of the country claim to be indigenous, Eva Morales the president is native himself.
So, we bopped to the market to grab some food, and spent on two burgers 🍔 approximately 40p or something ridiculous.
Then we went for drinks. Marten with the Long Island Tea and I with my Vodka Martini 🍸…and I now understand why people just go for a drink amongst friends…
Club, bar, dancing 🕺, drinking….and then to bed….but what do I remember the night best for?
The next day…well woke up at 2pm. And I don’t want to make this blog too linear but rather interesting….
So why go to La Paz? Go for the DVDs. I bought 30 films for bloody 5 pounds. All copies of course. But excellent, bloody excellent! Gringoes? Movies are on meeeee!
(Marten arrived home at 11am, and didn’t get out of bed until 7.40pm. A supremely lazy fucker. I love it!)
Date of entry: July 2, 2009
Well, since Marten left to head to Buenos Aires (again another sorry and strange goodbye, as it happens with few people, that you meet and you learn to love), and with Thomas already jetsetting towards Bangkok to meet his girlfriend, I have since been going solo.
It’s interesting how true the quote that I heard at a personal development conference is:
“The biggest obstacle you’ll ever face in life is yourself.”
This being the impregnable depths of the human mind, our striking ability to expand the smallest issues and reduce life´s biggest problems. The first attempt at an activity only slightly outside your scope, and you´re failure to see it through, or a “feat” well outside your talents but a seeming knack to win out.
In the footballing world it is known as a distinct lack of composure, along with the young, precocious talents being unable to live up to their potential. Loss, sad, wasted.
The thought of being alone, having had companionship in the form of these two people for pretty much my entire trip was something of a daunting thought. People say they travel solo (as I do!), and in reality they never do, always meeting good people along the way with whom to spend their time with. 🤝
Of course, these are thoughts that I never shared with Thomas or Marten, as the only real worry comes in the form of traveling to the bus station alone, going overnight across the country not speaking the language so well, and of course the fear of not meeting anyone at all…
The first bus real bus ride was here to Sucre, and since then I´ve dined alone several times.
And this is the other amazing thing about being outside of your comfort zone… It is amazing how fast it can become comfortable, and soon the norm. ☺️