This photo-blog is designed to work either as a standard blog with images or - by clicking any image - a photo-album. To see an image in full resolution click to the left or right of an image in blog mode. The images were generated from video to give the best possible view of the journey.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

La Paz

Images of La Paz from the bus as we arrive

We have come to Bolivia to meet Teresa Flores an ecofeminist ecologist and plan to make a circuit of lowland Bolivia during the burning season to witness the destruction and impact both on nature and the communities suffering wild fires set to clear the forest for development.

Composite panorama of La Paz from the moving bus

La Paz is a unique city set in the high altiplano in a precipitous valley where the conquistadors found a city as low lying as they could in the floor of the valley. Consequently the city has now become surrounded by brick favellas or barios housing the working class in less desirable steep or high altitude locations turning the entire city into an effective red-brick favella extending from el Alto on the high ground above La Paz to every cliff face in the valley.

Images coming in by bus

We initially arrived in the centre of the city and managed to find a tourist bureau where we could figure out how to phone Teresa and make contact about how to get to her place, which can prove complex as there is a tortuous system of urban epressways which require the corrct exit to get you anywhere near your destination.

Images of the central city on our arrival

Panorama of one of the main squares

Buildings with sculpted pillars

Looking across the centre towards the favellas on the cliff faces

We finally made contact with Teresa from this bureau. Today we would probably 
have a cell phone with global roaming as we did in our last three world trips.

Images from the tourist area in some of the hilly back streets to the south of the main centre.

Heath looking at traditional woven belts and bags

More images from the tourist area

There is also a quarter where tranditional charms and medicines are sold as well as fake pre-Colombian artifacts. This has some intriguing objects including llama foetuses used to bring good luck when  put in the foundations of a new house and ocelot and cat hides which remain symbols of power.

Llama foetuses used as good luck charms

This one is richly ornamented like a Christmas tree!

Stall with a line of ocelot skins on sale

Panoramas of another main square in the central city with the cathedral

Images from inside the cathedral

Panorama of a third square in the business district

Police guarding a financial institution where there is a run on the bank

The ever-present snow-capped Andean peaks in the distance

The business district has scribes so that those who are illiterate or don't have access to a typewriter can get official documents produced.

A fire eating clown makes fun of our strange country of origin

Planning the tropical lowland circuit

A dinner out in town at a chique restaurant

Teresa also took us to a strange suburb of La Paz where there were spire-like rock formations dwarfing the surrounding area.

Teresa's cousins house and garden

The bus top left is dwarfed by the spire-like rock formations

Teresa's house and studio as we are packing for the lowland circuit

Heath and Jane

Views of the favellas from the high ground where the bus for Coroico departed

Preparing for a talk with Teresa's fellow ecologists and acquaintances

A series of views of La paz as we leave to return to Peru

Two views in el Alto as we leave

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