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Taking the High Road to La Paz

semi-overcast 15 °C

Our blissful days at Lake Titicaca have come to an end. Despite dire weather forecasts for weeks before our arrival we had gloriously warm sun-filled days throughout our stay, although these were followed by nightly downpours.
We spent our last night on the shores of Lake Titicaca in Copacabana...
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In general Bolivian towns and cities are not pretty, however, the gaily dressed woman and the colourful street scenes make up for the ugliness of the buildings...
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Despite the high altitude and frequent rains it seems that most trading is done on the streets in Bolivia. There are few supermarkets and most fruits, vegetables and meats are sold in the markets that line almost every street in town. The women's voluminous traditional dresses and varieties of bowler hats create an exotic scene...
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In Copacabana backpackers can get a bed for 10 dollars or less a night and restaurants offer 3 course lunches for about 3 dollars (US). Few buildings in the town are finished, (but this is true of nearly all buildings we have seen in Bolivia).. One exception is the Hostal Las Olas, (The Waves)...
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Built up the side of a mountain, Las Olas is a German architect's fantasyland of spires and turrets reminiscent of the works of Gaudi. Our 3 floor “suite” took up an entire turret with massive circular beds, a kitchenette, numerous sitting areas and an abundance of spiral staircases built in natural woods...
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There was even a blazing fire in a ceramic pot-bellied stove...
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However, our delight soon wore off when we discovered that our turret was at the bottom of the mountain and the reception and restaurant were at the top. Oh well – you can't have everything.

The four hour bus ride to Bolivia's capital, La Paz, took us along the lakeside to a ferry: an ancient barge that looked as though it was sinking under the weight of our bus – and all our belongings were onboard!...
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We were ferried in a 25 seat launch, with 6 lifejackets and a spluttering outboard motor, which seemed only slightly safer. But we survived and continued to La Paz through mile after mile of sprawling suburbs where almost every building was in a state of disrepair. While the buildings are generally in pretty rough shape the roads are not nearly as good. Other than the main road, which was clogged with overloaded trucks and parked vehicles once we hit the outskirts of La Paz in the high plains above the city, most streets were just churned up mud.
However, excitement is building in the World's highest capital city. It is Carnaval time and the streets of La Paz are already thronged with people preparing to party. Here is the chaotic scene outside our hotel in the heart of the city as carnaval goers search for just the right costume among the thousands on offer ...
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Posted by Hawkson 12:24 Archived in Bolivia

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Comments

Wonderful hotel suites. Not so crazy about the transportation for you. Glad you arrived safely. Wonderful photos and always interesting commentary.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Long live the people with their colourful costumes and produce.

by Janet Vickers

That bus could illustrate the page “P” is for precarious in an alphabet book! The little wood stove looks pretty precarious as well. Wish you safe journeys.

by Tom whalley

The design architect might have been totally pleased with himself but I pity the poor tradesmen who had to build it--curves everywhere.

by R and B

colourful glimpses though your observant eyes

by kenhuocj

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