La Paz with Friends – Days 164

Sun 15th Jul

So today marks my way half way point. I am 5 and a half months in to my 11 month sabbatical! I can’t quite believe it. Feels like I’ve been away an age but I certainly don’t want this adventure to end. I know the next half is gonna go soooo quickly especially because I now only half 2 and half months left in this part of the world before moving on to Asia. Despite looking forward to Asia, the thought of leaving here really upset me.

I’ve done and seen so many amazing things that I can’t wait to see what the next half has in store for me.

Today I’m meeting up with Babisa and family. A slight change of plan due to airport delays but we meet at 2pm and decide to go for lunch first. It’s the 4 of us from yesterday and also her other daughter Carolina who I also met in Mexico at the start of my trip and it’s lovely to see her again.

I’m very kindly treated to lunch in a a lovely local restaurant and I decide to go for something different so opt for the llama! It’s actually a really nice meat….a bit like steak.

Full and sleepy after a slap up lunch we jump in the car and I’m given a tour of the southern part of the city before we park up to have a ride on the cable car. We start on the green one starting at Irpavi

in the south and change to yellow all the way to Ciudad Satélite the top of the Alta part of the city. The views are incredible

and u can tell I’m the only tourist here – the only one asking questions – what’s this, what’s that, getting excited about seeing Muele del Diablo

and Huayna Potosi

much to the amusement of the locals in the car with us!

Once at the top we go to the Mirador point which is comically in Pollos Cochabamba (chicken version of McDonald’s)!

Back in the car we make a stop at their beautiful house for a very welcome cuppa – it’s cold here at night! This part of town is stunning and so are the houses….this is somewhere I could most definitely live!

With everyone changed into warmer clothes, we pick up their friend Alex (a Brit who’s been living here over 24 years) and head back into town. Tomorrow is El Día de La Paz – it’s 209th birthday and it’s big business. Bolivia was officially established as an independent country on August 6, 1825, an event now commemorated each year on Bolivia Independence Day. The capital city of La Paz, however, celebrates its own Independence Day on July 16.

Tonight there are loads of celebrations going on so we’re off to check it out. We walk towards San Francisco Square and it’s absolutely bonkers….people everywhere. U can barely walk down the street. Drink stalls line the sides of the steer and we manage to find one with chairs spare and just off the main square. We grab them quickly and order the local drink they are selling called a Sucumbè.

This is made with singani (part of the brandy family and the national drink of Bolivia) mixed with hot condensed milk! It’s a bit odd but when in Rome…! We soak up the atmosphere and listen to the live band (apparently they’re well known here). It’s a good craic but the flow of people passing by where we’re sitting is a bit much and with young Sofi we decide to head to Marcus’ place who just so happens to be a good friend of Alex’s too. Small world in the land of expats!

There’s loads of room here, much better than the crowded street. A nice glass of Merlot (yes, I’m drinking red now), chatter and laughter

then it’s time to say goodbye. I met Babisa and Carolina at the very start of my trip whilst staying with Chris in Mexico and it was great to see them again and meet the rest of the family. They are all so lovely, kind, friendly and welcoming and it was the best way to spend some of my time in your city. Thank u so much for everything guys…I had a fabulous 2 days in your company.

There’s still a few things left here for me to do, and maybe even Death Road again so who knows….hopefully I’ll see u all again

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