City of extreems

Trip Start Sep 10, 2007
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Friday, October 12, 2007

Firstly, sorry about the lack of photos, we are finding it really difficult to upload photos, it takes about 10mins for one photos, not good, but we are trying.
Well after our longest ever bus journey we made it to la paz at 7 in the morning and we were wrecked but us being us were so excited about being in a new place that we had to go exploring. As well, my god the cold here, it was freezing, time to dig out the long pants again, after coming from Rurrenabaque which was 40C, to about 5C here at 6am, it was a shock. However, the place was so sunny and crisp, it was really enjoyable just strolling around.
Got checked into Loki hostel and headed out for a look around, both of us were suffering the effects of the altitude with cold like symtoms. Did some of the walking tour and booked into seeing Tiwanaku for Saturday. Just before I finsih on the weather, it is so extreem here, freezing untill about 11am and then its roasting, I mean about 25C and then by about 6pm, its gets frezzing again, so dressing is pretty wierd, loads of wooly hats, gloves, scarf in the morning and at night,  shorts and tshirts at midday, really wierd.
Up early on Sat but had to go to the atm for cash, made it back to the hostel for 8.45 for our pickup only to realise that the bus had left without us. Legged it over to their office and managed to get the bus to come back for us, O! the drama!
Went to Tiwanaku about 70 km away from La Paz, saw snow capped mountains on the way and farms with women doing all the work from ploughing with horses to pushing wheelbarrows and laying blocks!
Tiwanaku is a pre inca site and we got a tour around the place with our guide Oscar. the stone monuments were great to see but we were not allowed to photograph some of the best ones. They did a wierd thing with their heads to change the shape of them, and they were big into drugs back then aswell. They had a calender and a sun gate that only lets light in the summer solstace, they had a temple with amplification which was made by putting in stone that works on the same principle as the human ear, intelligent people back then. There is a lot of excavation still going on there and they hope to be finished in about 5 years. A lot of the site is wrecked though from when the spanish arrived and were looking for treasure. Got llama steak for dinner, to be honest it is better than the beef here.
Had another walk around the markets, everything is reallly cheap here.
There was an 80s night here at the hostel but we were back so late that we didnt have time to get a costume so the back packs were emptied out and we cobbled something together, some people were done up to the nines and it was a great night,
Next day and orla was suffering from food poisoning....hmmmm or drink poisoning and altitude sickness really got to us,. we were always expecting it sooner or later, so sunday was a write off really. We really didnt give ourselves any chance to adjust to the altitude and we are paying for it now lad.

Monday 15th of october

As we were feeling a bit better today we went to see Chacaltaya and the Moon valley(Valle de la luna) in la paz. Chacaltaya is a mountain on an old Inca trail. the Incas used to walk from Lake Titicaca to the rainforest and used Chacaltaya as one of the crossings over the mountain range. The reason that they crossed here was that it is a low point at only 5500 metres!!! on the drive out to Chacaltaya we passed a massive strike there were tens of thousands  of people striking for more and better schools. We also passed the old copper mines where thousands of men worked one time but now the mines are closed and the men mostly work in La Paz or alta as drivers or else street vendors.  There were lagoons nearby the mines and we could see the discoloured water from the minerals leaching into the water.  We were driven up to the point of 5300 metres and hiked the rest of it, I know youre probably saying that was only 200 metres...simple. It was not. At 5500 metres breathing is hard, you feel a little dizzy and its cold. There was snow around us. We had to stop after every 100 metres of walking to catch our breath. We made it to the top and the sight was amazing, we could see the lake Titicaca and the cordilla reals (where we are going hiking on wednesday). After a few photos we descended and as we did it started to snow. At the bottom again and we got a cup of cocoa tea, it was instant relief from the high altitude symptoms, and didnt taste too bad either.   In the afternoon we went to the moon valley which is just south of La Paz. Talk about 4 seasons in one day, we just had 2 winter and summer. ^The photos show us in the morning wrapped up in about 4 layers of coats and 2 hours later we are sweating in our tee shirts!!! The moon valley is basically a canyon with unusual formations where the earth has abeen eroded. Some of the formations have been given pet names although the only realistic one is the "nice grandfather" one. There was a local musician climbing up the highest peak he could find (no regard for safety whatsoever) and then he would launch into a tune on his guitar for our entertainment.
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Comments

mmnie
mmnie on

city of extreems
I can only imagine what a wonderful time you are having keep going and keep the photos coming Mickie

mmnie
mmnie on

travel
hi lolls and kieran ye seem to be enjoying the traveling weather here nornal must be nice to have 2 seasons in 1 day keep sending photos and videos every one here fine we miss ye though mary mac

alberto delgado on

HERMOSA TIERRA...BELLA GENTE WQUE DIZFRUTE MUCHO CUANDO PASE CON MI GUITARRA EN 1976...UN ABRAZO A TODOS LOS AMIGOS DEL GAUCHO ARGENTINO.

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