I’m writing this at 7:19am in the morning in La Paz, Bolivia which has the title of being the highest capital city in the world. Altitude sickness is something that is somewhat common up and around in these parts and can’t say I’m totally immune. I’m not sure if I’m still fighting this cold or rather sluggish but something is a little different than usual, without a doubt. The bus from Potosi takes 9 hours and runs rather regularly with options being early morning or in the evening with several night bus options.
I opted for the night bus as well, that’s how I roll and I ended up getting the 8:45pm bus. I was waking up when a friend of mine said there was a gregarious gent who was willing to cop our tickets for us in exchange for a 10bs fee, sounded alright. My ticket was with El Dorado bus lines and 129bs which was first class and roughly $20. I have to say that so far the whole “first class” affair is a bit of a myth unless you’re in Argentina where it really does resemble first class on an airline if you choose the right bus company.
Long story short, it was the last bus available but if I were you, I’d go for the 9:30 or 10pm bus. The 8:45 gets you in at roughly 5:45am which is still too close to the witching hour to be comfortable, especially when traveling solo. The bathroom didn’t work which is absurd and the first class zone had a heating problems making it a sickly sweatshop of sorts which sucks as usually they are cold and dressed accordingly. Suffice to say I didn’t sleep much but such is life and when I awoke from a dizzy doze there I was, in La Paz.
La Paz is decidedly dodgy but also quite beautiful. Like all of South and Central America you need to keep your wits about you at all times and be mindful of your possessions or they will soon go astray. At the bus station, I chatted to some new friends also in transit for about an hour before leaving to where I’m staying. I’d always rather get into a cab at ~7+ than ~5:45am and La Paz is somewhat known for cab muggings unfortunately. Basically always go with a registered taxi, tell him not to pick anyone else up and sit directly behind the cabby.
If someone gets in, get out and never hurts to ask to check the trunk; sounds crazy but such is life. If at a restaurant or hotel, get them to call a cab. It’s too bad you need to think about these things but such is life. Besides being a bit dodgy, La Paz is still decidedly beautiful and very rare. It’s like the mountains are covered in construction of and it sprawls endlessly; hopefully I’ll get some shots to give you an idea of what it’s all about. Also, it’s filled with old colonial buildings and the main plaza is quite impressive, stay tuned for images from there as well.
I’ve already discovered some fine dining options and La Paz acts as a great base to see some cool attractions. It’s home to the infamous “Puma Punku” which I’m off to see in about an hour or so and it also hosts the “World’s Highest Golf Course” which I’m off to play tomorrow. Besides that, lots of jungle treks and the infamous “Most Dangerous Road in the World”. I’d continue but the place I’m staying at resembles an Irish Pub more than anything else and as a result, I’m off to find some advil and an Irish Breakfast.