La Paz

We arrived late into La Paz after our all day trip from Puno. We only took a –couple- of photos of Puno as the town is basically a collection of little square brick buildings on the hillside around the lake.

Things are really  inexpensive in Bolivia with about six Boliviaros to the Australian Dollar.

We started our day with a tour of the city and like most places, this seemed- to revolve around the buildings ijn the man square.Some rather sloppy military guards protected the government palace while-some- very tough looking policemen patrolled- the area around the fountain in the square. It was OK to take photos of the military guard, but we were warned of dire consequences if we photographed the policemen.


As we were listening to ur guide explain the history of the cathedral, there was a loud shriek and a bang as a vulture dive bombed one of the thousands of pigeon, hit the window of the cathedral and flew off with it in its talons. Judging by the number of- pigeons, La Paz could- do with a lot more vultures.

One one corner of- the square, was a building that was pock marked with holes from- small arms fire. Seven or eight years ago, the police held a strike over pay and conditions and the then President ordered the army to march against them and attack them. The result was a fierce gun battle in which 32 people died. The following outcry caused the government to accede to the police demands.The bullet holes are left as a reminder of this action.


We drove through a combination of poor and wealthy neighbourhoods and took in the view from one of te hilltops. The biggest problem in La Paz is that it is built on the steep hills of a number of river valleys and every wet season more of the city falls down the valley in a series of landslides.


La Paz is a very busy city. The traffic is horrendous. Most of the public transport seems to be conducted by a fleet of private mini buses, or vans. These drive along the street with someone leani8ng out the door, or window, shouting out the route or destination in Spanish. Old clapped out trucks belch black diesel fumes as they traverse the hills. I have no idea as to who gives way to whom – I think that as long as you have your nose in front of nearby cars, you just make your way to where you want to go. Traffic lights have little meaning and pedestrian crossings are simply lines painted on the road. At the moment, volunteers dressed in zebra suits have stern wo9rds with drivers who don’t stop at pedestrian crossings and others in donkey suits harass drivers who break other simple traffic rules.

The streets are busy with vendors (mostly women wearing bowler hats) selling everything from batteries to toilet paper. The pavements-are crowded and people have to step aside constantly to let others pass. There seems to be a lot more people on the streets than you would expect for a city with an official population of 1.2 million


We were still at a fairly high altitude (3,600 metres) and it is still hard  to breathe. I even need to take a few deep breaths after rolling over in bed! Jill spent the afternoon relaxing at the hotel and I took a gentle, and very slow walk to the shops to buy a couple of thing that we needed. We finished the day off with a nice dinner in the restaurant.



Bruce is a keen traveller and photographer. This web site describes his travel and family interests

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

South America

Moving Inland to Burra

Over the last couple of days, we have explored most of the flat agricultural area of the Yorke Peninsula. Today, we moved through some more undulating country which is more focused on grazing rather than grain cropping. In a previous post I mentioned that most of the land on the peninsula is used for growing […]

Read More
South America Travel in Australia

We Have Made it to Port Augusta

Tonight, we are back in the big smoke, or at least as big as is Port Augusta at the head of the Spencer Gulf. It’s large enough to have at least two supermarkets and a car wash – the largest town we have seen in five days. Last night, our final one in the Flinders […]

Read More
South America

Valparaiso – My Final Day in South America

In many ways, I made a fortuitous decision to take a day tour to the port city of Valparaiso when I stayed over in Santiago for a final day on my way home from the Galapagos islands. I’m going back a week, or so, in time with this post but a lot has happened over […]

Read More