The Mannequins of Mentalville

…and the concert went on til midnight, only metres from our bedroom. During the whole evening there were three full length firework displays! And somehow Charlotte managed to sleep through it! Not to worry as we had a bit of a lay in this morning as our tour guide wasn’t collecting us until 9am. This was a pre booked 4hr walking tour around La Paz and we were really looking forward to it. Our guide was Ricky. Not quite as stoned as Danny, but certainly the potential was there. Again a really nice guy who gave us lots of information. We started off in the rain, so made our way for the Bolivian “second breakfast” which apparently is a must at about 10am. These were salteñas, and were like hot Cornish pasties only sweeter and fantastically tasty. First of all you had to drink all the juice out of them before starting on the pastry itself. Only 50p each too. Our walk continued around brilliantly busy and bustling streets in down town La Paz before going on the cable car up to the apocalyptic town of El Alto, 400m above. This was superb. There are three brand new cable cars in La Paz with another ten being built (big business for the Austrian firm Doppelmayr) at a cost of about $700 million. Ricky was very sceptical about the whole thing, saying that the money would be better spent on hospitals etc, and he’s probably right. It became very obvious that he was no fan of the socialist dictator Evo Morales. Great for tourists though. We weren’t allowed to go into El Alto for fear of death, but the ride up and down was amazing (30p each way).
Bruce had told me that it was traditional when drinking beer to throw a bit of it on the floor as an offering. Ricky confirmed this but told me that it was now being frowned on. The reason being? The offering is made to Pachamama, or Mother Earth. However, the Andean countries, and in particular Chile, now believed that all the beer on the floor was making Pachamama drunk, and was therefore the cause of all the recent earthquakes! True! Well, if it’s going to upset Pachamama I’ll not waste my beer!
It was a great tour of the city taking us to places we would never have gone to otherwise. The funny thing was that Ricky was obviously trying to stretch a three hour tour into four hours, and towards the end we were walking so slow we were barely moving! Very enjoyable though.
We had a small siesta before walking around again, just pottering from shop to bar to restaurant in this incredible city. Another must for everybody’s bucket list.
I think I mentioned before the horrendously ugly shop mannequins used to display clothes. Well La Paz defeats everywhere, and I’ve put a few of my favourites below.
Tomorrow is Death Road day!!!!! The itinerary looks great, and I’ve got to take full winter gear for our start at 4700m, yet swimming gear for when we’re at the river in the jungle at 1200m! Charlotte is coming, but just as part of the support crew in the minibus! However she’s keen to do the zip wire at the end of the day, which is 1,550m long, in three sections, and horrifically high! I have no idea how her brain works!

I discovered a fact today that partially lets Costello and McGaughran off the hook for their shoddy work – people are taxed on their finished houses, so no one finishes them! Only when they come to sell them might they finish them, and then the tax falls on the new owners! Maybe C and M aren’t as daft as they look. No, on second thoughts, really, they are.
We start at 7am, and get back at 8pm, so maybe no bloggage tomorrow. Either that or I’ve fallen off the cliff……

 

image

The clock on the presidential palace is backwards, as the president wants to make a statement that Bolivia is following no one……

image

Police patrol, La Paz style! Brilliant!

image

La Paz from above

image

This car had crashed off the cliff above and was now forever wedged into the rock face high above La Paz! A fantastic deterrent for drink drivers!

image

Preserved llama foetuses. Apparently when building a new house it’s vitally important to bury one of these underneath it, together with other offerings, to appease Pachamama! There are hundreds of them for sale in the shops! These were being displayed in front of all sorts of love potions!!

image

96% proof alcohol. Apparently the choice of all the local miners. No, I’m not trying it!

image

San Pedro prison in the town centre. It’s like a town on its own. This is the men’s prison, but their families live in there with them, although they’re allowed to come and go. A fascinating place, worth Googling.

image

Costello and McGaughran Electrical Contractors and their trained chimps had been busy here….

image image image

 

A selection of the world’s worst dummies

image image image

image

If Andy Gray sees this one, could somebody please check his blood pressure and place a cold flannel over his head. Thank you.

image

Beer of the day!

image image image

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s