La Paz is the highest capitol city in the world at 3600 metres. Most of us now are beginning to acclimatise to a certain extent. Either that or we are learning how to move more slowly and breath more deeply. The city is very spread out across several mountains and valleys. The Altitude can vary by 800 metres from one part of the city to another. There are several long bridges suspended across from mountain to mountain connecting parts of the city. There is also an extensive cable car system.
We are staying in a beautiful hotel, it has the best shower I ever experienced, a beautiful modern well equipped room and a very comfy bed. However true to South American form the door on my beautiful wardrobe fell off last night. Many apologies, very busy maintenance men, all fixed and this morning it wouldn’t open! Me in my nothings and unable to get into the wardrobe for my clothes! This really is a South American adventure!
I shall have to get hold of some remover, it will never dry in a month of Sundays!
After lunch we went to an area they call moon valley. The most extraordinary geological formation I ever saw. All created by the same conditions that create all of this magnificent landscape. Tectonic plates crashing together and volcanic activity followed by erosion over billions of years.
We were then taken to meet an artist, a potter and his daughters who work in silver. The pottery was beautiful, but too heavy to carry home. I treated myself to a ring though!
The next stop was a market where one can buy the various items needed for religeous rituals. The religion here is quite strange. When the Spaniards came in the 15th and 16th centuries they imposed Christianity on a people who mainly worshipped the earth, the sun and the moon. The Inquisition was very powerful and the result is a strongly Catholic country whose people sometimes still mix the old ceremonies with the Catholic ones. The Virgin Mary is worshipped everywhere but sometimes she looks like pachamammma(the mountain), consequently some of the old rituals like offering the aborted foetus of a llama to theEarth for fertility are still popular.
It is surprising that Catholicism took hold here so powerfully. Judging by the vast religious paintings that are treasured in every church, convent and monastery, the brand of Christianity that the Spaniards were selling was all doom, gloom and suffering! A great deal of blood and tears. Such a happy gutsy kind of people, it really is surprising.
After the market I skipped a church to go to the shops for nail polish remover but then joined the group again for a concert in a Franciscan monastery. We were served drinks and snacks whilstIt wasa student orchestra playing South American music and was very enjoyable.
A quiet morning tomorrow, then to Sucre!