arriving in my favorite place

Bolivia is, aside from the US, the only country I have been to twice. La Paz is unreal; if the ride from El Alto down to Zonasur or Sopacachi doesn’t hook you, the culture will. (It will anyway, to be fair.)

Not surprisingly, the trip began with what Shar has labeled “the Ol’ Gough Traveling Curse.’ My flight from Santa Cruz to La Paz was delayed, so much so that when I ran from the connecting plane to the man at the gate, he said, “Mas tarde.” 8:45 was the new boarding time, and I somehow managed to choppily relay this to a couple behind me, also on the tardy flight. We sat upstairs, them eating and me writing, watching 3 other airlines sweep happy passengers away to La Paz as ours continued to be delayed further. I was a bit frazzled at this point, because I hadn’t taken any Bolivianos out at the airport and to do so then would mean to go back and reenter the airport, go through customs, etc. Our flight arrived an hour and forty five minutes later, and there was no way I would be arriving at the hostel by 10 as my friend had arranged.

We landed in La Paz after a cozy one hour flight, and the couple I’d been stranded with asked how I was getting to my destination. I told them I was going to get some B’s out of an ATM and catch a cab, but they asked me to come with them. At this point, as we walked out the doors into the beautifully surreal altiplano, I remembered why I love traveling so much: despite crappy luck, you meet the most generous and fantastic people. The girl, Milena, was from BA and taught Spanish. Her boyfriend, Samuel, was one of her students (both of these people were my age, by the way), and was originally from France but living in BA teaching French. Needless to say, our conversations flipped from French to English to horribly broken Spanish on my part. And as usual, the scenery from El Alto to the Center wiped away any frustration I had earlier; it’s impossible to capture via camera, but La Paz is nestled in the mountains, which at night are aglow with thousands of gold and white lights that look like little candle flames.

I offered to get drinks for Milena and Sam at my hostel the following night as a thank you, but they apparently had other plans, although they seemed eager to take me up on the offer.

I arrived at Wild Rover, met up with my friends who had arrived a few days earlier, and settled into my room. I’ve only ever stayed in 3 hostels (Florence, Paris, Cusco), and none have been party hostels. Wild Rover, apart from Loki, is a huge party hostel. Despite the loud noise from the bar upstairs, I had a fantastic sleep.

'park' in the center of la paz

Categories: Bolivia

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