I’ve rather lost track of this blog, recently, sorry for my radio silence – but I’ll try to recap the last few stops as best as I can.
I really loved La Paz. It was chaotic and messy – just like I like a city. Cars had no sense of pedestrian crossings, or lanes generally – the sound of a carhorn will forever be associated with La Paz.
However, we still saw a fair amount of the city – going on a walking tour through the most beautiful markets, semi indoors, covered with blue tarpaulins that tinted the beautiful storekeepers and vegetables with a light blue hue; an information session outside the infamous La Paz prison by an ex prisoner, “Crazy Dave”; eating at markets and spending our afternoons reading and chatting in cozy bookstore cafes.
The La Paz prison is the most interesting place – a almost entirely corrupt prison where 8 guards protect about 2500 prisoners, in a tiny prison in the centre of the city. There, the prisoners have to pay for their accomodation – some sections have fancier houses, with saunas, while other prisoners live in squalor. It’s also said that the one prison is a major producer of cocaine for the region, made inside, and thrown over the walls for sale in nappies. There are a few hundred kids inside, who form a procession everyday at 8am to attend the school across the square. I don’t know how the security seems to work there – with the lack of security and fairly fluid gates – but from what I gather, once you’re in, life is better inside the prison than out. Doesn’t mean I would like to give it a try, through.
We also ventured out to the markets for lunch several times, where for 10 Bolivianos we would get an ‘almuerzo completo’ – a starter of a chicken vegetable soup, filled with a beautiful clear broth full of celery, rice and potatoes (being in Bolivia and Peru has FIRMLY reignited my love for soups) and then a main, most often Milanese, a breaded chicken with rice and boiled potatoes. On one occasion, we even got a fried plantain with the chicken – the flavours together were phenomenal.