25.02.2015 - 04.03.2015
It took us 12 hours to get from Sucre to our next stop Oruro. We had heard that it was a good place to spend carnival but carnival was now a distant memory. The guide book described Oruro as dirty, with little to offer food and scenery wise. The book wasn't lying. It was a dirty town that was clearly still hungover from carnival as they had yet to clean up. We grabbed a quick pizza and decided to leave our hostel (which came complete with no wifi and no loo roll) early in the morning.
When leaving I felt a bit sick but thought it might be altitude sickness. As we were driving along I found it hard to concentrate but then remembered it could have been the pint of tap water I drank in the middle of the night. Nightmare. It took around 6 hours and a couple of sick stops but we arrived in La Paz.
Our first impression of La Paz was that it was huge and very busy. We found a hostel that promised a more relaxed vibe than the self-proclaimed party hostel directly opposite. Here we were offered free nights stay and a free meal for working behind the bar or in the kitchen. As I wasn't up for talking to people or standing behind a deep fat fryer I turned the opportunity down while Beaky decided he'd work behind the bar.
The next day we went to one of La Paz's many markets, the witches market. Here they had all the usual alpaca clothing as expected but they also had stalls and shops selling potions and herbs that were supposed to bring you luck, wealth, health etc. even some promising to improve sexual performance. There were also a lot of dead, dried, baby llamas hanging in the stalls, not for lunch but to buy as a sacrifice to the Pachamama (Mother Earth) when buying or moving into a new home, with Bolivians hoping for good luck, health and happiness in said home.
In La Paz there is one of the world's longest cable car and for 30p (slightly cheaper than the Emirates in London) you can ride to the top. Even with a slight hangover it was a remarkable view and you could see the sheer size of the city. There is also a massive contrast in housing with the centre home to high rise buildings and further out are basic brick houses.
After being in the small gentile city of Sucre for so long La Paz didn't impress us as much but still offered lots of bars and restaurants. It is a very busy, loud and slightly dirty city, which has seemed to forgot about the history and is in a big hurry.
We had planned to do 'death road' the next day, a 63 kilometre road that in 1995 was named the world's most dangerous road. We decided to go for a curry, maybe subconsciously wanting a true British meal as our last. I had a llama tikka masala, trying to add a local twist to justify having a curry in Bolivia. An Argentinian friend from Sucre, Ariel, was in La Paz so we met up, had a few beers and both lost in table tennis. An early night as Death Road awaits.