Saturday, October 21, 2006

La Paz

Calle Jean - La Paz
Originally uploaded by Henrik & Barbara.
Purple potatoes, black corn, freshly peeled peanuts, dried llama fetus, Alpaca bags, hand-woven llama gloves, amulets for happiness, sacks of rice, dried healing herbs, freshly made orange juice, tons of salteñas and empanadas, white tomatoes and people reading your future in coca leaves. Everything is to be found in this bustling market city where taking a walk in the Aymara neighborhood stimulates all senses.
We have fallen completely in love with the energy of this colorful city and have used several days on foot, observing everything, never getting tired of it.

Since we are heading back to La Paz in 1,5 month we haven’t put much effort in visiting some of the sights in the city. We did though visit the coca museum. We went there, and were greatly surprised. For the first time on our long holiday we found a museum with extensive information in English.
Did you know that The Coca Cola company still are importing tons of coca leaves from South America as they still add the leaves in Coca Cola for the flavor. At the same time the U.S. Government is fighting for a coca free SA. Make sense??? Hmmm…
We also have an idea of the process of making cocaine or how important the coca leaves are for many of the hard working South Americans.

Crossing the Prado (main street) we entered the northern part of the city, meaning we entered the Spanish side of the city. From witches market, indigenous people and colorful market stalls we now found Burger King, men in suits and beautiful colonial buildings. We landed at the main square where Evo Morales live and stopped time for a moment. The guarding soldiers had their shoes polished, the kids were feeding the many pigeons (another universal thing: pigeons on the main square), vendors of ice cream and salteñas where passing by all the time, and every single bench and staircase was filled with a mixture of locals, young and old taking a break from reality – or maybe enjoying their reality.
In many ways this part of the city reminded us of many other large cities in South America and though it was nice, we definitely prefer the more colorful Aymara part La Paz.

We are looking forward to coming back soon and explore La Paz more, but for now we will head to Salar de Uyuni – the biggest Salt Lake in the world.


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