In La Paz our hop-on-hop-off bus ticket with Peru Hop ended at the Hostal
Copacabana, where we had a nice little room. We arrived at night and I scared
Danielle by going out to find a pre-sleep snack. The receptionist (who spoke
English amazingly well) told me that the police recommended tourists were
inside before 1am. Since it was well before that, I figured it was fine to just
walk the block in front of our hotel. It was, and I returned with croissants
covered in Nutella.
La Paz is a big city, meaning loud and busy. After the tranquility of Isla del
Sol, I enjoyed the bustle though. We only spent one day here because we had
signed up for a Spanish class in Sucre. In that day we bought a Bolivian sim
card (so far unused for phone calls but very useful for LTE which is invariably
much better than wifi where it’s offered), took a walking tour, and somewhat
accidentally ended up eating at a fancy Argentinian restaurant. The food was
good but we ordered way too much and in the end it wasn’t very satisfying.
We took our walking tour with Hanaqpacha.
Angel, our guide, was amazing. In flawless American English he told us
fascinating stories about the city and its history, and answered all our
questions in-depth. My favorite story involves the prison, where at some point
the government decided to stop keeping guards inside, leaving it to the inmates
to run. The inmates ended up with their own form of democracy, and have
elections every 2 years. Aside from that it sounds like a terrible place to
be, where connections and money decide whether you get a place to sleep,
something to eat, or any kind of freedom at all.
The next day we took a taxi to the bus station, and got on the next bus to
Oruro which left in just 10 minutes or so. Each bus has somebody whose job it
is to fill it up, and when you’re taking a job to a tourist destination these
people are very good at locating tourists and telling them about the bus. I
thought the bus was fine, but Danielle was upset a bit by the obvious bird poop
stains on the seat back in front of her and on the side of the bus.