05.03.2010 56 °F
Landing in La Paz is surreal. Everywhere you look there are little red brick houses hugging the rolling hills. The airport is appropriately named El Alto. It is seriously high up at 4000m. A taxi drove me down a large, wide curvy road into the of the traveller barrio centered around Sagarnaga street. My hotel, on the fringes of the area, is more of a local Bolivain business travellers hotel than a International travellers hotel. Nice for a number of reasons; none of the nasty dreadlocked, dirty, rude Israli travellers would think to stay here, the people who work here speak very little English, which makes me work harder at my Spanish, the price is fair - not marked up for rich tourists, and it has everything I need for $10.00 a night.
My first day in town I wandered around and got my bearings. Practiced my numbers by asking what things cost to different store owners. Bought a large 2 liter of water that I MUST drink tonight to stave off this high altitude headache I feel coming on, and a small school kids pair of scissors that I use when I clip and trim stuff to put in my journal.
I had a delicious cold, fresh, salad of cabbage, radish and onions, papas fritas (french fries) and some chicken soup for lunch. I picked a spot where I happened to be the only foreign looking person eating and so I got a lot of attention from staff and fellow diners. I think I saw some appreciative stares that I was eating the same things they were all eating.
Back to my hotel room to read and rest up. I´m a bit breathless when walking around and can really feel my heart beating faster when Im at rest. But so far all that was expected due to the altitude. By the way the altimeter on my watch reads 13429ft in my hotel room.
The plan for the next few days is to find a way to either Sucre (fly), or Salar de Uyuni (train and bus). There´s a transportation protest going on so I´m not sure how I´m going to get to where I want to go to next...........