January 27, 2014

Sightseeing in La Paz

Once Paige got adjusted to the altitude of the city, we decided to take a sightseeing bus tour to explore what La Paz has to offer.  The tour we wanted to take started downtown, so we took a taxi to get there on time. After around an hour of being stuck in traffic, we got to the square where the sightseeing tour was supposed to begin.  Since the streets were so congested, the taxi had to drop us off around two blocks from the bus stop.  As soon as we got off of the taxi, we started power walking to meet the tour.

The view of the mountain in La Paz, Bolivia, from the top of a double decker bus

When we got to the corner of the first block, we were in one of the busiest intersections in the city. I started crossing to the other side, when I turned and looked at Paige.  She looked a little nervous and I could tell she was hesitating on whether or not we should cross the street since a couple of cars were still moving (despite the red light).  I looked at her smiling and just told her to follow me and not be afraid.   I later explained to her that drivers and pedestrians do not always follow the traffic rules in the city, so you just have to be careful and fast when crossing the streets. We kept running and finally caught the tour a couple of minutes before it began.  We were lucky because we got the last two seats on the top floor of the double-decker tour bus.  We sat down and made sure we had our cameras handy.

The first part of the tour took us to the southern and more residential part of the city.  Paige was impressed with the view.  She loved how the city is surrounded by mountains of different colors and shapes and how blue the sky was that day.

Page in Valle de la Luna (moon valley), with formations made of clay and small stones

As part of the tour, we went to a place called “Valle de la Luna” (moon valley) which is a preserved park that has a beautiful landscape filled with formations made out of clay and small stones.  While we were there, we walked for around half an hour but since it was warm and we were going up or down little hills, Paige and the other people in the tour were out of breath by the end.  We then continued to visit other main tourist sites downtown and in the northern area of the city.  To finish the tour, we went to “El Mirador de Killi Killi” which is one of the more central and easy-to-access viewpoints of the city.  The landscape there was impressive.  We could see most of the city and only part of the “Illimani” (the highest mountain of the Cordillera Real) since it was cloudy.

After the tour, I took Paige to my favorite coffee shop downtown given that it was time for tea.  Instead of tea we ordered ice cream since we had a small lunch and it was warm.  When we were reading the menu, Paige told me she was surprised because almost all ice cream desserts came with different kinds of fruit.

Paige and Michelle pose sitting on a small wall at Killi Kill with the city buildings of La Paz, Bolivia, behind them

We both broke out in laughter when I teasingly asked Paige what she thought whenever I added fresh fruit to my ice cream in the dining halls at Lafayette.  She told me she was a little confused whenever I did that, but now she wanted to try it.  When the waiter came to our table to take our order, Paige decided to get ice cream with fresh papaya, pineapple, peaches, and apples. At the end of the meal, I was so happy after she told me she loved the combination.


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