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Crossing the river before summiting 17,500 Pico Austria. Photo by Ella Williams (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest, 2nd Place), South America Semester.

A day in la paz, contrasts

Written a few days ago but didn’t post due to technical difficulties:

Exploring the city we stopped today in a cafe in the city center of La Paz. It was unlike the city around it, inside no spanish was spoken and cheeseburgers and BLTs were displayed in the predominantly english menu. The cost of these american staples was much greater than the food a minute walk away on the street 20-40 bolivianos per entree.We joined european and japanese tourists inside, taking time to rest their cameras and take a break from the culture around them for a more homogenized experience. The food was good, vaguely reminiscent of an olive garden style american chain, and the windows gave a good view of the iglesia de San Francisco where tourists could be seen outside taking photos carefully cropping out homeless people on the street.

Apart from experiencing various food we found our way to a few interesting museums in la paz and got to know more about the magical heritage of coca leaves and their impact on the bolivian population. Everything started during the incan time with the legend of a plant sent by god to the people living in the andean areas to remain strong and people worship and praise it which means that when taking it out your mouth it must be put underneath a stone. So far we are happy and excited for the next week and to talk about the problematics of the coca consumption with the american embassy !

Wes, Gabriel and Franca