La Paz, Bolivia

La Paz, Bolivia

I only have a week left in Bolivia. Time goes by so fast! I did the Red Caps walking tour and was given an overwhelming amount of information about the country. There were a few travelers on the walking tour that I had met in Sucre, making me realize it is an incredibly small world!

We got to see the San Pedro Prison which is ridden with corruption. Prisoners actually have “jobs” (most of which involve drug-dealing) so they can buy or rent their accommodation within the prison. This means that the richer you are, a better living space you can obtain. They can also have their families live with them. Cocaine is bought and sold through the walls of the prison, with police turning a blind eye because a lot of them receive a portion of the profit.

At the Witches Market, I learned that people can buy potions to make the girl of their dreams fall in love with them or to correct your lover’s behavior. Human sacrifices are actually still made to Pachamama or “Mother Earth.” However, it is not okay to take just any person. Witch doctors go out to find men or women who are homeless or people who don’t have any family, and therefore, have no better purpose but to be sacrificed to Pachamama.

Bolivia has an interesting history of presidents and is currently dealing with a complicated situation with President Morales. It would appear their president would much rather be a dictator, as he has continuously changed laws for the past couple of years to stay in power. He also hates the Unites States and has actually changed government clocks to go counterclockwise so to avoid being associated with western culture.

We were given lots of fun facts about why the women wear the garments they do. We learned that there are people dressed as zebras to help people cross the street. They are known as The Zebras Urban Educators of La Paz Bolivia. The government program was conceived in 2001 to help reduce road chaos in the city. We also learned that President Morales banned “the Simpsons”. A lot of citizens went to protest the ban which eventually encouraged the producers to make an episode in their honor. Definitely read about this stuff online. It is a fascinating culture and history!

After the tour, I went back to the hostel and ran into someone I had met earlier on my trip named Christian. He also happened to be the bartender. After telling him I was from California, he exclaimed “Westside best side!” throwing up a W sign with his fingers. Drinks were on the house, he said.

I did karaoke for the first time tonight. Christian shoved the list into my hands saying I HAD to do it, or he would kick me out.

I thought long and hard about what my first karaoke song would be. This moment would go down in history, obviously, so it was a crucial decision.

Finally, I stood up on the bar and belted out a song I knew my parents would’ve been very proud to hear.

The whole room sang along to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and for a second, I forgot I was the one holding the mic. It so fun! It felt like a movie scene with everyone standing on the bar and singing along with me. For five beautiful minutes, everyone was my friend.

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