The political and financial capital of Bolivia is the smog chocked, market packed, empanada lined wild city of La Paz.  At an altitude of over 3500 meteres, i still could not breath properly but that certainly did not stop me from seeing 2 soccer games, experiencing the fullest of Bolivian night life and watching two ´more than oversized´ ladies wrestle in traditional Ketchwan clothing.  But like I said, La Paz is a wild town.

   We rolled into La Paz from Copacabana and initially experienced the most interesting traffic system I´d ever seen.  Basically everyone pushes thier vehicles infront of every one elses vehicles and no one goes anywhere, quite frustrating when you´ve already been on a bus for 7 hours.

    Staying at El Solario we were instantly the life of the party due to an affliction we have with a certain drinking game known as ´Circle of Death´ (doesnt it just sound fun?).  I wont explain all the rules, but the basic jist is that every card in the deck means you drink.  Its fun, but its not for the feint of heart.  This admiration from our fellow backpackers who more than willingly joined our games unfortunately earnt us the dislike of the hostel owners, which I thought was a bit unfair.  It wasnt only US keeping everyone awake until the wee hours of the morning.

  Time in La Paz was hence characterised by this general theme.  A rough and dirty city we drank at night and slept though the morning, until the light from our (not one but TWO) skylights made attempting sleep unbearable.  Parousing the many market stands we did a walking tour of the city taking in the Witches Market, the Black Market (which everyone knows about and is hence not so ¨black¨) and the main central plazas.   eventually we booked our ride down the worlds most dangerous road, but that is an entrance in its own.

    Troughout my time in La Paz, myself and the majority of our current travelling posse became avid supporters of the local soccer team Bolivar.  30 bolivianos (it is 8bolvianos to $1USD) buys a rich persons seat (which is all they would sell us at the start) and 10 more a team scarf.  Adequately kitted out we spent the second night in La Paz more than involved in the atmosphere, learning the players names and screaming at the referees.  If anyone has ever seen me at the football, they may have some indication of the situation; not that watching Bolivar could be considered close to watching my beloved bulldogs.   We won 4-0.

   Much partying proceeded from then on and the night life became a bit of a blur.  I do remember dancing on a table and then almost falling off onto an unwilling crowd to hoist my modest carriage in a mosh-pit style crowd surf, but luckily I kept my feet.  I also remember dancing with many girls, all very impressed with my gringo moves (but who wouldnt be) and the moves of my fellow travellers.  I can modestly say that all those night clubs in La Paz, and there were many, we took over and made our own.  Ahhh, good times! I think……

  More shopping, more markets, more street food which is actually where I spent almost my entire time eating.  For $2AU one can purchase two cheese filled bread/pastry things, more bread with cheese and the most enormous, jam packed fruit smoothies.  It is quite a meal and usually comes with a free trip to the toilet later in the day.    Another trip to a soccer game, this time in the 10 boliviano section where the supporters are more avid and throw flares at the players of the other teams, and we were walking back through town wearing our Boivar colours and proudly demonstating our 2 game loyalty to the ladder primeros in the Bolivian league after a 4-3 win.

   It was not until we were almost home that we peered through only a crack in a fence and observed some WWF style local wrestling.  To compare this to WWF is an insult to the fake wrestling world, however I must say the entertainment value was more than adequate.  The main fight we saw was between two women wearing the traditional Ketchewan (the native people to the area) dress.  Two huge ladies wrestling in native bolivian dress.  At this moment I deemed I had seen everything La Paz had to offer and the next day we were off to Sucre, the real capital of La Paz, tho involving a lot less clubs, pubs, bars and girls.

  Naturally we capped off La Paz with one more night of circle of death, followed by the traditional carving and eventual owning of local dancefloors.

   A brilliant and horrible city at the same time, La Paz gave a person everything they wanted but constantly posed the risk of taking it all away at any point in time.  The streets are unsafe at night and the people constantly lie to get money out of you, but all one can do in those times is remember that your in a 3rd world country and focus on the positives.  Soccer, the bike ride, the fun nights, the interesting street food, fat women in bright colours wrestling, and an unbearably bright room from 6am onwards.  What a week!

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