Well what to say about La Paz…. You love it and hate it all at the same time! We checked into the Wild Rover hostel which we had been told about by practically everyone we met and for the first four days that was all we saw, other than nightclubs! The hostel did western food which at around £3 was expensive for Bolivia but in the grand scheme of things, if it kept you from having to put effort into moving it was worth splashing out =)
We met up with some people from Cusco and all arranged to do the Worlds Most Dangerous Road together. The 69k road is one of Bolivia´s attractions and because of the extreme dropoffs of at least 600 metres, the single lane road which is no wider than 3.2 metres (10 ft) its one of the must do´s whilst in La Paz. Years ago the number of incidents was very high but luckily for us, modern day health and safety has intervened as we were all equiped with safety gear and had 3 guides, a mechanic who checked our bikes at various points, and also a minivan that followed us down. The views were amazing yet we didnt fully appreciate them as we were concentrating on holding onto the bike over the extremely bumpy road. There were 17 people in our group and we all did so well to stay on until 400m from the end where Sam´s tyre skidded on the gravel and she went tubling off. All she remembers was falling and thinking ´oh sh*t this is going to hurt´ then waking up in the minibus extremely confused with aload of people standing around her. The main thing is that she´s ok but being found on the floor and convulsing due to shock wasnt a nice thing for anyone to see and when she finally came round from being unconscious I think everyone was relieved. She was so in shock she didnt recognise Dani let alone anyone else and when people told her she was in Bolivia she was sooo confused, what a crazy thing to say to someone who doesnt have a clue whats just happened!
Afterwards we all got food and chilled out and Sam after a shower finally came back to life, she wasnt allowed a drink though which was the first thing she wanted! Apart from a nasty gash on her arm and lots of bumps and bruises she was ok so that night we all went out to celebrate surviving (in Sam´s case literally!). She was told not to sleep for awhile so clearly heading out to the club was the only solution =) Next stop the jungle!!
Back in La Paz the original plan was to arrive that morning and get on the night bus that night, but if only life was so simple! We met some people on the flight back so decided to stay in La Paz for a few more days with them. Although the flight was so much better than the bus, it was still an experience, (we didnt think you could get so close to the Andes!). That night we ended up back in the Wild Rover watching the Champions League final and then a night out, which was one of the best! Three days later Dani left with the lads whilst Sam stayed back with Will and Steph to visit San Pedro.
After reading Marching Powder it was a must things she had to do so after arranging to catch up with everyone else in Potosi made plans for the visit. San Pedro Prison is renowned for being a society within itself where inmates have to buy their cells, have jobs within the prison and where families can come in and out freely to visit. When we visited the prison was housing 1400 inmates (20% international) and it was so biazree to see the community inside, children playing, women serving up food and inmates playing football, pool etc. Although you shouldn´t technically be inside we managed to arrange it so that we were visiting a prisoner so if anything happened we were ok. When we arrived we met our guide and the three security guys that would escort us around the prison, all of which were prisoners. Despite being inside a notorious prison with some very dangerous people, our group didn´t once feel scared or threated. Its hard to explain unless you´ve read the book (very recommended) and hard to imagine but it is exactly like a mini community, we were given gifts and even got a stamp in our passports to prove it. Definately worth staying an extra day without a doubt =)