Thursday, March 20, 2008

La Paz, Bolivia

Our taxi driver pulls over before our descent into La Paz. As far as the eye can see are houses and buildings of red. Immediately, we cannot breathe deeply.
Mission #1: Find Coca Leaves.


They are not bad. Sweet, but stiff. (Yeah, yeah...I'm leaving that one in for the fellas. Just like ya'll.) You stick them between your cheek and teeth and suck. Do not chew. But you do swallow. (I just keep setting you guys up!) If they help the altitude sickness at all, I don't know. I can't breathe, but I don't have the slamming headache that everyone else is complaining of.


Colors are bold and bountiful. From the signs to their clothing. It reminds me of Guatemala, but not as organized. In Guatemala, everyone in a family or community will match their weave. It truly is an amazing sight. This place is beautiful, just different and a very large city. With too many steep roads and steps.


We walk everywhere. And fast. These old folks are killing me! I am traveling with two uncles and an aunt all close to 70 years old. They want to walk down every street. The junk in my trunk knows that we will have to walk back up these steep streets and I will regret walking down, but not as much as I would regret not going with them. THEY are the adventurers. I'm just along for the ride.

We stop and buy snacks of Brazil Nuts, Raisins, Walnuts and Dates. Did I mention that the old folks are health nuts?

Everyone has internet access. Everyone. And cell phone cards. In La Paz, Bolivia, I don't see the homeless and hungry. Everyone is selling something.

From dried toads and llama fetuses at the Witches' Market to woven bracelets sitting on the street, they are all trying to make a living with what they have.

Ah yes, there's the matter of who will take home the prize that I brought back for my peeps! I promise to get to that tomorrow. I'm still trying to acclimate and catch up with work and family and friends and the blogging before my last brain cell dies and I remember nothing!

29 comments:

Dana said...

Witches Market? How cool is that! Beautiful pics!!

buffalodickdy said...

Nice pictures! Sounds like you covered alot of ground!

Raven said...

Witch's Market...cool...Dried llama fetus...baaaaad....
I have chronic headaches. I have headaches more than I don't. The one time I've gone out west and went up into the mountains...the entire time I was up there...not even a twinge of a headache. Everyone else was complaining about them.

Diva said...

You caught some wonderful pictures. I love it! Welcome back!

Jay said...

I've never been past 7,000 feet so I haven't experienced altitude sickness, but I hear it's a bitch. Did the hotel provide you with an oxygen tank to use? Some of them there do.

Jen said...

Awww. . . .girl. . . I so thought we'd be able to skip the whole dried llama fetuses. . . .

***gag***

I can't imagine the feeling of not being able to take a deep breath! I'd feel a bit panicky, I think.

Wonderful pictures.

Jeff B said...

I once did a back packing trip at about 8k feet. I thought I was going to throw up a lung.

It's great that you have some cool photos to remember the trip with.

elizabeth said...

No kidding - I'm seriously eating Brazil nuts as I read this. Verra cool.

Love the pics!!

Micky-T said...

Glad you had a great trip, welcome back to TN.
In the picture with the two women sitting, selling limes, there are five woven [things] that look like they may be stacked on the road in the foreground to the left. One of those [things] was left in my house when I bought it. Mines empty, but shaped and woven just like those, do you have any idea, what they are?

Fu Manchu Dad said...

Strange as hell, I knew I wouldn't be able to see your pics, but for some reason I can see one. The one with the store banner that reads "Cotillones Allegrias" I'm sure the rest are lovely. I'm very impressed at your aunt and uncles ability to walk around in that high altitude. It probably bugged them a lot too, they're just from the generation that was raised to not complain, so you never knew when they were "feelin' it" Look forward to more text about your adventures.

FMD

Matt-Man said...

The colors in the pictures are really astounding. Great Shots. Cheers!!

R.E.H. said...

Wonderful pictures! Wow, now I really want to get out there and travel all over the world. Pictures like these always wet my appetite for that kind of thing.

I envy you ;)

Tequila Mockingbird said...

i was digging the pics until i got to the llama fetuses... ick!

Cap'n Ergo Jinglebollocks said...

the llama foetuses ain't the prize, is they?? They look cheap & plentiful.

Odat said...

Hey! Welcome Home...sound like you had a great time! Llama fetuses????
Peace

Leighann said...

Great, now I'm going to have nightmares involving llama fetus.... as if I don't already have ENOUGH trouble sleeping!

Glad you had a good trip!

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Dried toads? Llama fetuses?

Yikes!

It looks like a lovely country though. Glad you had a good trip :)

Palm Springs Savant said...

these are such wonderful photos. I knew you would come back with a great perspective. can't wait to see more~

KellyKline said...

Awesome pics! I'm so glad you had a great trip.

So ... when you said "baby llama" ... um, if that's the prize, can I just get a gift certificate for an ice cream cone at McDonald's?

Seamus said...

What an interesting and wonderful adventure - coca leaves, sweet, stiff and all! Amazing that everyone has internet access. They seem like such an industrious bunch! Did you ever get really used to the altitude?

doggybloggy said...

I hope I win a dried toad....seriously I could use it right now..

Fortune Cookies said...

I've had asthma all my life. It was worse when I was a kid, but I can certainly relate to the feeling of not being able to take a deep breath. However, I've never had altitude sickness. Did the hotel have O2 for you? Beautiful photos!Witch's Market? How awesome!!!!

Spiky Zora Jones said...

sweetie...those are fab pictures. They capture so much. Babes you could be a photographer for any travel mag.

The nuts...I'll eat but the dried toads...gotta go.

ciao babes.

g-man said...

Cool pictures !!! I'm glad the old people gave you a run for your money :) The opposite would have sucked for sure.

From all that stiff sucking stuff I was beginning to thing you were switching sides ;)

Cooper said...

Looks like an awesome time. Glad to have you back. Even in the pics I get the sense of the vivid colors.
But one question...did they have any Llama Fetus Happy Meals?

motherx said...

Beautiful Pics! Sounds like you are having a wonderful time.

captain corky said...

I wouldn't mind hitting that witches market, that's pretty cool. Of course I'll bring a crucifix and some holy water, just because ya never know. ;)

Anndi said...

I was fine til I saw the dried toads...

Freakazojd said...

Wow, I love your photos so much, they're fantastic!!
I kept laughing in your second paragraph...and thinking "That's what she said" because apparently I've been watching The Office too much. I also laughed when you said you all stopped to buy nuts and then you called your uncles/aunt health NUTS. Seriously, I'm the only one who picked up on that?! :)
It looks like it was an amazing trip...altitude sickness aside, of course. How wonderful to have such an opportunity!! And welcome back!