Tuesday, March 16, 2010

La Paz - Getting to Know You

We set a relaxing pace these past two days in La Paz, taking advantage of the city wide siesta period to return to the hostel after lunch for a rest before heading out again. While we´ve had no altitude sickness per say, I get very tired very easily here. Yesterday we visted the Fransican Church located in the main plaza on calle San Fransisco. We doled out 15 Bolivianos each (thanks GWU student card) for entrance to the museum adjacent to the church where we learned a lot about the history of Bolivia. The Fransicians were responsible for a lot of good stuff like making sure the natives were taken care of, and of course converted. Something kinda silly is that crucifixes here often depict Jesus wearing a really feminine high waisted embroidered skirt - still haven´t figured this one out yet. He also has really bloody knees which most European crucifizes tend to leave out. Everything is just kinda more gruesome here. We also got to climb onto the roof which is always worth 2 dollars in my book, which is also where I took the two photos below and the fourth one.

the guys in blue are shoe shinners

typical La Paz traffic

inside the Fransican monestary

bio hazard truck tucking along

took this one for dad: wine jugs for fermenting in the Fransansico church and monestary

these objects were used to make pisco, or moonshine as it was translated

the front of the Fransican church was carved by local artisens
it depicts things from nature, religious motifs, and indian masks

Yesterday, we also walked around the artisenal market and began to buy a few of the amazingly cheap items we inteded to buy here and witnessed some sort of political rally followed by some kind of gas being released and the swarming of police/swat teams everywhere.
After a delicious lunch at a local place recommended by the guy we booked our jungle rafting tour with that cost Josh 12 bolivianos and me 22, we headed back for a little r and r.
After, we walked to a nice mirador (look out) and did some good walking around the south part of the city. This is the richer part of the city and it was noticably different and more modern than the other parts of the city. The people were dressed more like us, there were more cars (still lots of cejas though) and there is a giant park sadly under construction.
After asking at least three different people for directions we found the muliplex! where Alice in Wonderland was playing in 3D for 40 Bolivianos. We had already seen it without 3D in Salta but we decided to head back there after dinner if we had the time.
We had pizza for dinner (so awesome after so much soup) and still made it to the movie which was even better in 3D.
Today we headed back to the tour office to book our tour and then did a little more shopping and ate lunch at the same place! After a rest we headed to the Museo de Arte National which had an amazing collection of Bolivian art. It started with religious pieces that were interesting but in my opinion not very good, and moved on to more modern stuff which was unique and like nothing I´d ever seen. I was very impressed with the paintings and sculpture on display and would recommend this museum to any art lover. At 10 Bolivianos its a bargain. However, if you don´t want to pay there are two free exhibits at all times.
Tonight we are going to go to bed early in preparation for our 5:30 AM pick up time tomorrow. We are headed to the Rurrembarque, or the Bolivian jungle for five days. We will be without internet access until Monday, but we´ll take lots of photos!

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