Dear La Paz, Shine on You Crazy Diamond!

I love energetic, vibrant, colorful cities, where every street corner brings the unexpected and the absurd. Take those ingredients and throw in some confusion, chaos, and 3rd world attitude and you’ve got La Paz. La Paz is not a city for the faint of heart- you’ve got to be on your toes or before you know it you’ll be robbed, run-over, or winded from the steep winding roads.

La Paz at dusk

La Paz at dusk

La Paz is a hodegepodge of beautiful and ugly buildings, modern and colonial architecture, all butt-up against one another. The clashing aesthetics are found on the hectic city streets as well: indigenous women on their cell phones, old men selling tampons, children in traditional clothing wearing Nike sneakers…Bolivia has a crazy, schnizophrehnic history of changing government and its identity crisis is not apparent anywhere more than in La Paz.

cecilia-049

cecilia-0481

Protesting is a popular pastime in Bolivia. The news channels love covering bus accidents and protests. The drug trade? That's not news.

Protesting is a popular pastime in La Paz. The news channels cover nothing but bus accidents and protests. The drug trade? That's not news.

My daily mango-papaya-banana smoothie joint for US 80 cents. The other thing I have everyday is ice cream. Calories are cheap and when I'm not suffering from food poisoning I'm stuffing my pie-hole.

My daily mango-papaya-banana smoothie joint for US 80 cents. The other thing I have everyday is ice cream. Calories are cheap and when I'm not suffering from food poisoning I'm stuffing my pie-hole.

I love the markets here. Yesterday I was bemusing to myself as to how I’ve spent my time here in the city and I realized that just wandering the city streets in search of something or in search of nothing can take up an entire day because you never know what crazy thing you might find in the smorgasbord of markets. There are virtually no stores here- everything is sold on the streets. USB stick? Head to Plaza Murillo. Imitation Rolex watch? Go to the Prado. Fireworks? Up Calle Santa Cruz. Fake US dollar bills and Euros? (no joke these are sold on the streets, no shame) Try Mercado Negra. Everything and anything is for sale here.

buy all the voodoo ingredients you need to hex your ex

The Witches Market: buy all the ingredients you need to hex your ex

not sure what this voodoo set up is meant for

not sure what this voodoo set up is meant for

The arsenal of "Fuegos" we bought at the Witches Market. The label on the "Bad Boy Noggin" firework said "Osama Bin Laden has met his match". When in La Paz...

The arsenal of "Fuegos" we bought at the Witches Market. The label on the "Bad Boy Noggin" firework said "Osama Bin Laden has met his match". When in La Paz...

La Paz is no beautiful “City of Lights” like Paris, no historical wonderland like Rome, it doesn’t even have the quaint feeling of some areas of crazy New York, but as far as character goes, La Paz is a winner.

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~ by ceciliabien on January 15, 2009.

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