I had been interested in taking the extended La Paz Red Cap tour since I took the “free tour” on my first day. It shows you more of La Paz and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays can be combined with Cholita wrestling. For me the verdict was out on this but I felt that my time in La Paz would be incomplete without it.
I asked for my last Thursday off which coincided as being the day after England lost the semi finals. Luckily for myself and Pippa we had Darik and Michelle from the US console us with pizza and mucho cerveza back at the house. It was after Michelle mistakenly celebrated Croatia’s first goal but it was by far the best moment of the match, the celebration not the goal, especially the look on her face as she realised no one else in our table was celebrating that one has to forgive.
The next morning was a little tough to say the least and Pippa went on the morning tour and I met up with her for the second tour afterwards. I spent the morning doing admin and feeling sorry for myself and trying to remember how many songs I killed singing at full volume the night before.
Anyways we arrived at 2pm and the first task was to get to the cemetery. The guide was excited that we were going to take one of the local minibuses, Pippa and I were now old pros at these, #escuna (it actually makes me really sad that the joke will never be funny again), so we offered to go with half the group and the guide with the other.
After a lot of being stuck in traffic we arrived at the cemetery, and sat through a sky trying to rain, as the guide told us interesting stories. I won’t ruin it for you, only with photos, so do the tour! Actually as an aside it’s dry season in Bolivia and not supposed to rain. Like everywhere else I’ve visited this is an unprecedented year. Global warming anyone? So here are some shots of the cemetery in La Paz.
One new interesting feature is the graffiti. Every large urban area I’ve visited in South America seems to have grafitis and La Paz is no exception. Again there is beautiful art work. All of this is commissioned and fairly new and each piece represents various aspects of death.
We walked through the cemetery and afterward hit the red line of the teleférico. I’m not so experienced at this but I’ve been up to El Alto several times. Although this time Pippa pointed out the car that had fallen down the mountain and became stuck in a crevice. No one one what happened and the bodies are still inside…so I am told by Pippa.
We visited a viewpoint and then marched through the El Alto market, which claims to be the biggest flea market in the world and looking at the size of it I can’t disagree. Earlier in the month I managed to find a wire there that I couldn’t in Santiago and you are supposed to be able to find anything. As a group we were marched through. I’m not sure if this was because there was so much traffic on the way to the cemetery as the websites says the guides will help you buy hinge or if this is the normal pace.
After passing through the main market we arrived at the witches market. There is a witches market down in the centre of La Paz but this is only for tourists. We had arrived at the real one that locals use. Again we were marched through a small section. I would have taken photos of llama foetuses but I didn’t realise we would get so little time here.
The next stop was visiting the witch doctors to tell our fortunes. We walked down a fairly desolate street and sadly the usual person was busy. The guide asked if anyone wanted to know their fortune and I kept shouting yes while the rest of the group kept quiet. It was fricking freezing but I wasn’t letting this put me off. Besides I got to sit in be warm whilst my fortune was told. There was several languages involved but I’ve been told that I’ll be fine on my journey (so now no need to worry about dark ally’s and health and safely) I’ll find a job when I get back to London (so I’m not going to both applying for anything) and I already know the person I’m going to marry. If anyone is still single I suggest you get hitched ASAP!
After me another lady went in so Pippa and I, armed with my new knowledge, decided to test it out. Pippa wanted a pic with one of the guys so we decided to ask a guy across the road. He invited us out back and I followed Pippa into his room to take the picture. I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen true poverty upclose, assuming that he lived here, as there was nothing in that room other than a bed really. It did have some amazing views of the city and Pippa got her picture at the cost of 20bs but not really in the fashion that she wanted. We were interrupted by the guide who looked really concerned. I mean what could really go wrong by entering a strangers house, in a strange city where we don’t speak the language…
On the way back though the market we noticed these highly prized Lonkin Park hoodies. Regretting not buying one!
Again we jumped on the teleférico and headed over the market to the Cholita wrestling. From this point on I really wish I could explain what happened but I just can’t…
Okay I can. So cholita wrestling is a thing. It’s even officially recognised by the WWE or whoever controls wresting. This is one thing that I really can’t be arsed to Google. It’s not worth the effort. But this is the real deal. And if you don’t know what cholitas are then read this BBC article (I’ll link when I can).
Anyways it involves ladies wrestling, mostly each other but the red gets involved. I’ve never seen wrestling, so this is another first for me, but it looked like carefully choreographed dance moves. Think Strictly but after s life the partner is purposely slammed Intl the flour snd you have it. We arrived during the first match and below is essentially what happened.
The second match:
And the third which was two ladies vs s dude. He was great at acting as the bad guy and they rightly kicked his ass!
And all smiles at the end when everyone came out to meet the fans. Pippa even got a lift from a very oily man.
Afterwards we were all put on a bus back to Plaza San Francisco. It’s probably if you do this as El Alto is not supposed to be very safe at night. Anyways enjoy La Paz. It’s brilliant!