In yet another fun episode of Amy rides a Bolivian bus, let me tell you what happened last night on my ride from Uyuni to La Paz….
Again, I boarded the bus and there was no toilet, so we would stop every three hours to do the Bolivian sidewalk squat. Some foreigners think that the cities of Bolivia smell like urine… well there’s a reason for this as its common practice for men AND women just to squat in the middle of the sidewalk and urinate during the day or night.
On our second stop in some unknown town at about 12:30AM, we all got off the bus to use the sidewalk… there were a bunch of Israelis on the bus so they all ran off around the corners so I waited for them to finish before I went. I was by myself on some Bolivian street corner and I hear the brakes on the bus release… hmmm that’s strange I thought to myself as there were a huge gaggle of people standing outside the bus before I went around the corner… as I re-zip my pants, I turned the corner JUST in time to see the bus pull away from the curb and head off down the street.
All my luggage, EVERYTHING was on that bus, I didn’t even know what town I was in, it didn’t have a bus station and as it was past midnight, all hostels/hotels were closed for the night (and besides, my dinero $$ was also on the bus)… Sooooo, adrenaline surging, I am in full sprint to catch it. After two blocks, I reached the tail end and started banging on the side of the bus with my hand screaming bloody murder for it to stop… and luckily it did. Needless to say, I refused to get off the bus anymore the rest of the way, but I made it.
After checking into my hotel, I headed off to see the witches market or El Mercado de las Brujas. Now, this was supposed to be a highlight of my trip to La Paz, but oh my was it horrible. It was like looking at a stand full of junk made in China.
Now I had read about llama fetus’ that people bury under foundations of buildings, amulets, dried frogs and portions and the witches market offered me this instead…
I think Pachamama must be a 5 year old child…
So I left the witches market quite disappointed and decided to walk around La Paz to see if I could find anything else interesting.
The city center is around the Church of San Francisco, and the witches market was about 5 blocks North-East of there.
There are also a bajillion buses around La Paz, and they are all old…
I had read about Jaan Street, which is a historically restored street, so I then headed in that direction and was again disappointed as it was just filled with people selling junk.
But it was near a park with a million friendly pigeons that would sit on you if you fed them. I wasn’t interested in that business but there were plenty of people who were.
I then decided to climb to one of the highest points in La Paz, the kili kili mirador. The route on the map looked simple enough, beyond the fact that I was walking up the side of the hill at altitude… but the maps never show empty alleyways where I am just waiting for thugs to mug me either.
But after questioning a few locals who pointed out the way to the top, I finally arrived at the top of La Paz:
I then got to go back through the empty alleyways into the chaos that is downtown and there were too many people and crowds milling around for my taste as at night La Paz seems to come even more alive.
At any rate, I’m just happy I arrived to La Paz in one piece and am not stranded in some unknown town with no cash and luggage… I’m hoping tomorrow should be an epic day however as I’ve signed up to mountain bike down the most dangerous road in the world!!!