Thursday, 8 May 2014
Fascinating to just take it easy and people-watch for a bit here in La Paz. The combination of cold still air and bright sunshine somehow makes for a very comfortable environment in the bottom of the gorge that holds the city centre. Apparently all the nicer addresses are "down" in this valley at 3700m altitude. Up on the rim of the gorge at over 4000m, it's just as cold and windy as anywhere else on the Altiplano, and not surprisingly that's where the sprawling poorer districts are found.
The airport is also up in "El Alto" - as well as a pretty well stocked graveyard of old planes and the Bolivian Air Force's active fleet of 1940s era T33 jets!
Nevertheless, just as we're getting well acclimatised to the altitude and enjoying the rare mountain air sans headaches.. it's time to head to down to sea level again. A slightly bitter-sweet thought, as this time in the Andes has been awesome. But the thought of heading to a tropical island in the Indian Ocean is definitely more sweet than bitter!
Having journeyed through the night on a rickety, old and very cold bus (it was sold as having heating!), we arrived in La Paz. It felt good to be at a lower altitude, even though we were still at 3700 metres! La Paz is a great city especially for people watching. The cholitas have a fantastic combination of bowler hat, hundreds of layers of petticoats and pretty shawls. All of these layers are definitely needed here, especially during the night when it gets incredibly cold. I enjoyed hanging out in the central plaza watching the world go by and eating a cup of jelly topped with lime flavoured whipped cream.