Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Carnival in Oruro and La Paz

In Paraguay I saw dancers from Bolivia during the bicentenario parade and I thought they were awesome. I saw that the carnival in Oruro was going to have many folkloric dances like the one I saw in PY so I thought it would be fun to go see. We originally were going to take a tour which provided transport, seats, meals and tshirt but we thought we could do it cheaper ourselves and in the end we saved 20 Bolivianos which is like $3 but after hearing about Lauren and Marianna's time with a tour we're glad we did it ourselves.
We got up at 3am to get a 4am bus from La Paz to Oruro. It was freezing and we did not have the right clothes on, Nick had flip flops and I had flip flops with socks and our feet were freezing. Nick ended up buying socks once we arrived. It took us almost an hour to pick a seat. There were many stands and each section had a person selling seats for 200B (we didn't think it would be that much!) and after awhile we just picked one and sat down. The next 8 hours we barely moved from our seat because it wasn't easy to get off the stand and we bought food from the vendors who came by the stand. We had ponchos in case of waterguns and foam spray but it wasn't tooo bad where we were sitting.
The parade itself was good for the first 2 hours, and then everything kept repeating. They had amazing costumes (except for the ones using dead animals) but it was the same stuff over and over. Different dance troupes all doing the same folk dances but since we had paid so much for the seats we didn't want to leave too early. Finally at 6 we decided to make our way to the terminal, buy some street food and get on a bus back to La Paz. It was a long day and when we got back to our hotel room it was playing on the tv so we could watch it from the comfort of our room instead of a cold bleacher. I probably wouldn't do that again, once is enough. Maybe next time Rio!! Unfortunately we were advised not to take a camera so we have no pictures of the carnival..and we would have been fine if we took one anyway.

After Oruro we spent a week in La Paz not doing much except eating and walking around and buying stuff. We met up with Laruen and Marianna and went to Loki Hostel and Wild Rover for a night out. It was also still carnvial and we got into a watergun/foam fight with little kids on the street. I got soaked. We ate at The Star of India which apparently has the 'worlds most dangerous vindaloo' which if you eat all of it you get a tshirt. Nick attempted and was very successful and got the shirt. I tasted a bit and thought it was horrible and toooo hot for my untrained American mouth. We also bought stuff for ourselves for the first time because we could actually afford it in this country so now we have nice new jackets. We stayed at hostel Tipnis which unfortunately didn't have WIFI but was only 70 B's (about $10) for both of us for a private double with a tv! We also went to the movies to see Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but ended up going on a holiday day so we had to pay more. I think it would have been better if I hadn't read the book first!
La Paz is a very cold place and hilly and I was always out of breath because of the altitude. We had a hard time finding an eating place with wifi but internet cafes are cheap.It is a funky city to see from up high because the houses go right up the surrounding hills. We also sent stuff back home and I can't believe how quickly it made it!!

Good luck blessing for Adventure Brew Hostel that we accidentally took part in

'worlds most dangerous vindaloo'

random street party we saw when walking back to hostel

Pigeon foot

colorful store fronts

a street

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