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La Paz, Day 2

Written on: Monday July 30th, 2007

A journal entry from: Bolivia, Peru, and the Galapagos!

Day 2 in the high altitude was much better. I woke up with only a slight headache and was eager to see more of the city. I had booked a city tour today through my travel agent, unfortunately, the hotel had no clue where I was supposed to meet it (even though the paperwork I had said it started there). Sigh. So, I headed out on my own.

The first stop was the bank. The ATM's give out money in denominations of either $20US or $50Bolivianos (about $6US), however, both are too large for any shop to provide change. I don't know why people don't keep more change on hand, I guess they just can't afford it. So, I managed to tell a bank teller that I needed smaller bills and she obliged (though she seemed super annoyed).

Next, I wandered down the Prado through the tall office buildings and then over to a park. On the way to the park, I had to cross over the River Choqueyapu. The river was disgusting! Apparently, all of the sewage, plus garbage and animal carcasses gets thrown in the river. It smelled like urine and was orange-colored. It also had a nice froth to it as it flowed over the rocks. According to Lonely Planet, farmers downstream use the water to irrigate their fields (and prepare their own food!) without sanitatizing it. And that produce is sold in La Paz. Hmmmm...

From the park I had a nice view of the Prado district. I took several pictures here to form a panoramic shot, then I headed back to the Prado for lunch. I found a cafe that was the Bolivian equivalent of Starbucks, its called Alexanders Coffe and Pub. I got half a chicken breast sandwich, a salad, and a cafe con leche for about $4US. I also noticed that they had wi-fi! While there are about 500 internet cafes in La Paz, not a single one of them has wi-fi, so this was a good find. I'll probably return tomorrow for lunch to upload my photos.

After lunch, I returned to my hotel to relax, check email, and read. Then went out to buy some sunblock for my face. Even though the daytime high is around 60 F, after two days at high altitude, my face is cherry red. Sigh. The sun block was priced as it would be in America, $6US. By this time it was about 6pm and the people on the streets near my hotel were about 50% gringo. I guess this is the time of day where the day tours are finished, yet its still not dark, so the gringos are out in full force.

Finally, I went to dinner at a restaurant in the hotel next door. I had a great meal of vegetable soup and grilled llama with french fries. Okay, yeah, I had this yesterday for lunch, but it was their specialty and was much better than the place yesterday, so I'm glad I tried it. This meal was pretty spendy (in Bolivianos): $9US for soup, entree, and a glass of red wine.


From Christiane on Aug 2nd, 2007

I love grilled llama with french fries. I love how mean it sounds and how good it tastes.