I ♥ Bolivia

My next stop in Bolivia was the capital of La Paz.  This city is basically a gigantic market, mostly catering to tourists with llama and alpaca goods along with the standard boot-leg dvds available in most big cities.  Portions of the famous “witch market” are probably geared towards the locals, specifically the llama fetuses used in ceremonial celebrations.  Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of this because my camera and phone spent the day drying after they went swimming when my entire water bottle emptied itself in my purse on a bus ride.   Everything is ok and functioning now though, luckily.

Copacabana on the famed Lake Titicaca was my next destination.  The highest navigable lake in the world is really pretty, but the city itself is nothing to write home about…

Overall, I really loved Bolivia.  Definitely one of the top five places I’ve ever been (if I get ambitious and/or bored, I’ll get a list together of my top 10 favorite places).  The people are so nice and helpful!  The country is still in its infancy of tourism, so for the most part, the people haven’t been spoiled by tourism and consequently don’t have the same “out to get you” mentality as a lot of other developing countries.  A very refreshing change of pace!  And as a huge bonus – they speak more slowly and clearly than in Argentina, so my Spanish skills were much more useful than they had been because I could actually understand when people spoke.

The only real problems I encountered in Bolivia involved the super-high altitudes.  At one point I was up at nearly 15,000 feet (nearly three miles).  When you are this high weird things start happening because of the lack of oxygen.  I’m the first to admit that I’m not in the best shape of my life, but I certainly don’t get winded walking or climbing for short distances.  However, even extremely short distances had me embarrassingly huffing and puffing.  I was even taking altitude sickness medication meant to make your kidneys process the carbon dioxide more quickly.  And it was definitely helpful because I got super sick when I even halved my dosage – a less than ideal night after that decision.  The high altitude also meant the freezing cold temperatures (which normally I would just adapt to, being from Michigan and all), but the entire country doesn’t have the capability for indoor heating.  A lot of places only have electricity for an hour or two per day, depending on how long the gas in the generator lasts…

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