Death Tour

Posted by Jennifer in La Paz, Peru | Leave a comment

Ivan woke up early on December 3, 2012 while I went back to sleep.  I kept falling back asleep.  Lil Dave went to explore La Paz with his friend George’s friend Martin.  Ivan went with some of the group mountain biking down the Most Dangerous Road which is also known as “The Death Road”.  I was too nervous that I’d fall off the death road, so I was staying in La Paz today.

I walked to Thai Palace for lunch, but for some reason it was closed even though it was noon and the sign said it opens at 11:30 am.  I walked around and couldn’t really find anything good.  I ended up going to a random chicken place.  I ate some fried chicken being bad and forgetting my vegetarian diet. 

I came back, took a shower and went to the lobby at 1:50 pm.  Ivan set up a walking tour for me so I was waiting for the tour guide.

Ben was there to pick me up at 2 pm for the Banjo City Tours.  We walked down the street to another hotel where we picked up an Australian woman named Rebecca.

We walked around the city.  One of our first stops was a market.  Each of us had a fruit drink filled with lots of different fruits and cereal on top. 

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Ben took us around the Old Centre where we saw government buildings in Plaza Murillo.  The Palacio Quemado is located in the plaza which is where the President of Bolivia resides.

We walked to the San Pedro area where the infamous San Pedro Prison is.  Up to 2009, tours were offered to the public.  But, the government thought they shouldn’t be rewarded by getting money from tours since they’re in prison to be punished.  Ben told us that it’s a community inside where prisoners have jobs.  The prisoners have to buy their own prison cells.  There are 1,500 inmates in the prisons which doesn’t include the wives and children of the husbands.  The wives and children can come and go as they please.  Very weird!  I would have loved to go inside to see how it runs and how they live.  We had to take a picture from afar since the police don’t like pictures being taken of the prison.  There’s a book called Marching Powder that’s about a British inmate named Thomas McFadden who spent four years in San Pedro Prison because of drug trafficking. 

Ben, Rebecca and I walked to a car.  Ben’s dad was giving us a ride up to El Alto.  We stopped at a lookout at Mirador Jach’A Kollo. 

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It was a great viewpoint of the city of La Paz. 

Then, we drove to El Alto.  We walked around the market where stalls sell fruits and vegetables. 

Ben took us to the Real Witches Market.  The stalls have silver jewelry, amulets, candy, potions, dried snakes and lots of dried llama fetuses. 

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The dried llama fetuses are used as an offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth) to protect your house when buried under your house’s foundation before it’s built. 

Our next stop was a street filled with shamens. 

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Rebecca and I were going to get a coca leaf reading.  Ben had a favorite shamen, but unfortunately he wasn’t there.  His family member was there which was actually a shawoman.  The shamens do healings as well but these are expensive.  I was thinking of having a healing done on my upset stomach which was still feeling weird since yesterday. 

Rebecca got her reading done first.  She wanted to know if she was going to get married.  The shawoman said she would meet somebody in a year and she already knew the person from school. 

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I went for my coca leaf reading.  The shawoman put coca leaves on a blanket.  She asked my name and my husband’s name.  I asked how many kids would I have.  She would then grab from a big pile of leaves, raise the leaves up and pour it down on the leaves.  She said that Ivan was very lucky and that we’d have three kids.  I also found out that I would have my first kid in 2013 (yes, next year!) and that it would be a girl.  I asked if they would be healthy and she said the first one would get sick a lot, nothing major though.  Interesting.  Ivan and I do want kids soon, but we only want two kids.

We got a public bus back down to La Paz.  Ben walked us through another market and then the black market where there’s no tax.  The tour finished shortly before 6:30 pm.  It was a great walking tour.  Ben is friendly, willing to answer any questions you have and he’s very knowledgable about the city.

Ivan came back at 7:25 pm. 

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He really enjoyed the scenery at the Death Road.  It wasn’t as scary as everybody makes it out to be. 

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He was so tired though from biking the 42 mile road. 

Later, we had dinner at Tambo Colonial.  Ivan and I shared a salad for a starter.  Lil Dave got a banana lasagna.  Ivan got a trout with a chestnut sauce while I had a spaghetti with mushrooms.  It was a lovely dinner.

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