La Paz-The highest capital in the world! But pay attention! The official capital is Sucre, a bit confusing but nonetheless, this city remains very interesting for the adventurous and cultural orientated traveler, which we all are to a certain extent!
La Paz has different nicknames according to the inhabitants. The name La Paz literally means peace, although that is relative. With 1 to 2 million inhabitants, the city is crowded and noisy like most of the cosmopolitan cities in the world! But not to worry, there are alternatives, like the Valley of the Moon (situated 10 kilometers from downtown La Paz), a landscape full of stalagmites. For a while you are able to fantasize walking on the moon without wearing an oxygen mask. Neil Armstrong must have thought the same; he even built a holiday home next to the site. You will not bump into Neil Armstrong; however you might encounter the” Esperitu de Andino” (Spirit of the Andes), who is always guarding the people of the Andes…
Of course, La Paz has more to offer than only the moon and spirits. The ever growing city is alive! Heading toward a more modernized and democratic society, Lap Paz is becoming “The Example”. With a well established vision of 2025, the promotion of tourism is highly prioritized on the governmental agenda and more attention is being paid to art.
I was lucky to be in La Paz for the organized museum night, gratefully visiting the free- of- charge museums. I enjoyed the various beautiful artworks accompanied by heavy metal rock concerts outside of the museum buildings. The crowd was going wild, not surprising, looking at the skinny lead singer with typical long hair and a raw voice doing his act on the stage. Inspired by this odd but original performance, we went off to a down town club, called Senses, a very appropriate name. Girls, with amazing high heels, leather skirts and red lips, were holding their champagne glasses while dancing with the fancy boys dressed in costly looking Colbert’s. This was accompanied by South-American hits.
This seemed strange enough, however, there is more, namely the Witches Market, also known as el Mercado de Las Brujas. Merchandise sold in The Witches’ Market, run by local witch doctors known as yatiri, includes potions, dried frogs, medicinal plants and dried llama fetuses. These llama fetuses are buried under the foundations of many Bolivian houses as a sacred offering to the goddess Pachamama.
Want to be on top of the world and visit La Paz!? See for yourself and go to: Cultural Immersion.org
By Sanne Toonen