Pete (pjc50) wrote,

An update appears: holiday in Bolivia part 2

The approach into La Paz's El Alto airport was quietly dramatic. Mountains rose up around us, level with the plane; we flew over the great bowl of the city; then a very short descent onto the airport on the rim of the bowl. The airport is up in the sky at 13,000ft.

Here we started the fully guided section of our tour with our first guide, Jorge. Jorge was kind of a dude; young well-educated guy with excellent English and good conversation. He took us to the "Valley of the Moon", a strange erosion-generated terrain; Tiwanaku, our first Inca site; and later on the hydrofoil tour of Lake Titicaca. He also took us to lunch at a local stand-up pasty vendor.

Under our own steam we visited the Anthropology museum, which is one of those rambling fusion of buildings that's very hard to gauge the size of from the outside. They had (among other things) a great collection of masks which fascinated Laura, and a small collection of Andean hats which were indistinguishable from those being sold to backpackers today. Except that some of the captions indicated that they were thousands of years old. Astonishing cultural continuity.

Diningwise we had the bizarre deserted theme restaurant Laura's already blogged about, and an unexpectedly good evening in the hotel bar. One of the desk staff was playing the piano, doing various self-arranged medlys of Elton John and the Beatles. His talents were constrained by the instrument, a short Yamaha keyboard, which he jokingly demonstrated by trying to play the opening bars of Rachmaninov's concherto and falling off the end. With the entertainment we had bottle of Bolivian wine, which had a fruity smoothness and quality way above its price bracket. You don't see much Bolivian wine in UK supermarkets - Chilean, yes, but not Bolivian.

This all fitted into three nights, and then we were off to Peru via the lake...
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