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La Paz, Bolivia

We’ve almost caught our breaths in La Paz after two days of walking uphill everywhere and intense lazing about. Time to leave: we’ll fly to Sucre (scheduled at 45 min. vs. the 14 hour bus ride) tomorrow midday.

Our flight from Miami to La Paz was delayed several hours on the tarmac: ICE had a couple people on a list who were “unfortunately not able to continue with us to La Paz,” according to the pilot, and unloading and reloading all the plane’s luggage took as long as one’d expect.

Not detained were Stryper, flying in coach on our cramped little 757 (verified by their tour dates and the cameras not waiting for us in the arrivals area at LPB).

Fortunately, however, our airport pickup from our splurge of a hotel was still there several hours later, and we made it quickly to “Hotel a la Maison.” The tariff is nearly unconscionable for a Bolivian hotel (i.e. not bad), but we wanted to give ourselves a cushy landing while we adjusted to the altitude. It’s done well–the room is huge and kitchen-equipped, the breakfast rolls are deliciously crunchy, and it’s in a quiet and utterly untouristy part of the city (uphill, yes).

The city has been much more relaxed than we expected. No trouble from the shoeshines, despite previous rumors, and very little hassle at all, at least in comparison to Egypt or India. Yes, an unfair comparison. We’ve been to a few small but lovely museums (for roughly $0), missed the opening hours of several others entirely (same price), and had some reasonable Dutch, Surinamese, and Indian food (a few bucks). We probably saw a church or plaza or two, too. Most dramatic, though, are the fleeting views of the city spilling down its encompassing canyon, with cameos from the stunning Illimani.

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