25 August 2009

Where to find The Peace in Bolivia

I'm in La Paz ("The Peace"), the unofficial, governmental capital of Bolivia - the official, judicial capital is Sucre. It's located in a valley at 3,660m above sea-level, shadowed by the Mount Illamani (6042m).

Initially I didn't have very much motivation to visit another big city of over a million people, but there is a actually a lot of interesting things to see and do here.

For example, markets galore (below):



[Below] Mercado Hechicera (the Witches Market) where they sell herbs, magic potions and llama foetuses - to bury under the porches of new homes for good luck.


[Below] The price varies between US$45 and US$65, depending on the foetus - bu that might be the "foreigner" price.


[Below] In the centre, in front of La Perez (Plaza San Francisco), is a hub for the mini-van buses. Someone usually leans out of the window or door and continually yells out the destinations - and sometimes special prices. I asked a local if this makes a difference at all. She said, "Definitely! Here we are used to hearing the destination. So if people don't hear it they probably won't get on."

[Below] Need a hair-cut? A peluqueria is where you need to go. Take your pick.


[Below] Shoe-shiners can be found anywhere where there are markets or a bunch of people. They often cover their faces with ski-masks or balaclavas. I asked my friend why they do so, and he said, "Well, for starters it's to protect their face from the sun. But many of them have other jobs or are students and are just trying to earn some extra money, so they don't want to be identified. "


[Below] On the corner of Linares and Sagarnaga (streets) - in the heart of the tourist area - I saw a mob of angry people, video cameras and police. I asked a local what was going on and she told me someone had been murdered. I found out the specific details the next day: a man who sells silver items in the street was approached by three men, asking if he had any other pieces. He took them up to his apartment to show they his range and they attacked and killed him.

I watched the commotion for a little while from across the street, volunteering the information to curious foreigners to freak them out a bit, haha. One older, Bolivian woman asked what was happening and when I started to tell her she shrieked, covered her ears with both hands and hurried away, haha.


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Related Posts

- Tarabuco Market, Bolivia
- The barking dogs of Santa Cruz
- Cochabamba... Is this still Bolivia?




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