La Paz capital of Bolivia and highest golf course in the world!
La Paz, Bolivia
After going through the toll the bus stopped and we all jumped off to take a picture of our first view of La Paz. It was amazing, a massive city that seemed to take up the whole of the canyon that it occupied. We then headed down to the bus station to get dropped off, as soon as we got off the bus the taxi drivers started to beep at us to get our attention, we picked one and all jumped in, and headed to the Wild Rover, our hostel in La Paz.
After a bit of a mad drive we arrived, the drivers here don't seem to have any rules or regulations and most of the taxi's seem to be driving on slick's which makes it interesting when cornering and braking.
We were traveling with Stuart and Charlene the couple we had met on the Colca Canyon trip so that makes it easier to sort stuff out. Four heads are better than two!
The rooms were good at the hostel and there are hot showers so that was great. We all got refreshed and headed to the bar to get some food and a drink. Whilst there we started to plan what we were going to do whilst we were in La Paz. The main attractions are the Death Road (as featured on Top Gear), the worlds highest golf club, and the jungle treks to the rainforest of Bolivia.
Ryan and Trey, two of our friends from the Machu Picchu trip, were also staying at the Wild Rover so we arranged to play golf with them, we arranged it for Thursday afternoon which gave us enough time to settle in and also have a wander round La Paz and visit the markets.
La Paz is a very busy city and the traffic is very heavy and the buses are very smoky so you very quickly get a sore throat. The people don't seem to bug you as much as they do in Peru though, except for the beggars who are always asking for money even though they now get a pension from the Government. It's worth a try for them though.
Golf was great, we got a taxi to the golf club which incorporated a tour of the city, well a ride around and a stop at the lookout point which overlooked the city and also the golf club which was quite good, not really much to say about the tour though we didn't really get much information and mainly got told about Christianity and our Guide's love of God?
On arriving at the golf club it started to get windy and quite cold, we all wondered if we should have taken more layers with us. We each got a caddy, five balls and an ok set of clubs, Trey being a left hander had a slightly older set of clubs which was funny! As with anything in South America they tend to take their time so after some paperwork, some photos and a lot of sitting around we eventually got going.
First tee, always a bit nerve racking and somehow I seemed to be the first one to tee off, good shot and got it over the first canyon, not on the green but not bad, next up Trey and he got his over as well, the next two went down in the canyon. Once we got going though it was great and everyone enjoyed it, the caddy's were great and really helpful, they knew the course inside out, mine had a handicap of nine so I listened to what he told me and tried to do it, unfortunately I was unsuccessful more times than I was successful, kept hitting the trees!!
The course was amazing with some great views, it was also being watered all the time so it was so green. There were canyons all over the place so a bit off putting on some of the shots. Great day though and I really enjoyed it, only lost one ball so not bad, don't know who won as we didn't really keep score, not me though as I had a couple of shocking holes.
It was about 6.30pm when we completed the last hole and getting a bit cold, we all took some photos and jumped in the taxi to head back. Sarah and Charlene had been to the markets and got some trousers and other bits and pieces which was good and they had a good afternoon as well.
We were all quite tired so grabbed some food and then a couple of drinks as we had an early start the next morning for our Top Gear drive! More about La Paz first though.
Whilst in La Paz we also took our time to look around the various markets and stalls. The most interesting is the witches market with the Llama fetuses and various powders and potions and lucky charms. At first it was a bit weird seeing all the dead unborn baby Llamas in various states some nearly fully grown, apparently they are buried under the front door when you build or move house. This is meant to bring the house good luck. They also sell lots of fake money which is purchased once a year and is said to bring you wealth for that year. There were so many stores, we eventually wandered into the hardware area of La Paz here you could buy any item such as baths, basins, tools, light bulbs, anything you wanted just stall after stall all spilling into the street.
In this area was also the world's highest curry house which we decided to visit in the next few days. When we wandered in the smell was amazing and we all felt hungry straight away! We all sat down and decided to order a mixed platter between us and two mains to share between the four of us. The waiter took our order and went to the kitchen, he then came back and said we could only have the curry and rice as there were no naan's, onion bhaji's, samosa's, or even kebabs! We were all a bit puzzled and got up and left extremely disappointed that we had not had what we wanted. This however seems to be a regular occurrence in Bolivia as most of the restaurants don't have all the stuff in stock when you want to order it and you have to change your mind. We ended up eating in the hostel instead as they always had the whole menu in stock for a reasonable cost.
Other than that we did a lot of walking around La Paz looking at all the people and various statues and monuments, we also planned our trips and had a couple of days to get the washing done and the blog updated.
Next, Top Gear Drive and then the Pampas Jungle Trek!