We caught one of South America's great overnight buses to La Paz. Even in Bolivia they were still fairly comfortable and we managed to get some sleep. A highlight (for Kim and Justine, I was asleep) was when the bus stopped and all the traditionally dressed women, the Cholitas, jumped off the bus in their full skirts and pooped a squat all in a row. Apparently that is one reason they wear the full skirts, so they can go with some form of modesty everywhere. Genius.
Our overnight bus meant a very early arrival in La Paz. We checked in to our hostel "The Wild Rover" which is known for being a party hostel and managed to cash in on a free breakfast before heading out for a walking tour to learn more about the city. Many people view La Paz as being quite dangerous. But we all felt safer there than we have in many other places. On our tour we viewed San Pedro prison - if you haven't read Marching Powder, you should. The tour guide pointed out a hole in the roof that the inmates use to throw cocaine out of to their drug dealers on the street. He said that one time he was walking home and it landed about a metre away, and before he could register what had happened, someone had picked it up and sprinted off. Not sure how true that is, but makes a great story!
We also learnt about the great pick up techniques of the Bolivians (boys, you could learn something). First, the men like a cholita with child bearing hips, long hair and strong calves. When they fancy a cholita woman, they want to get their attention. So to do this, they throw pebbles at them. If the cholita notices and is keen, she will run away. And the bloke is expected to chase after them. Once he corners her. If she's really keen, she will show him her calf muscle. Then it is on. We all thought we would do quite well in Bolivia, if only we weren't a foot taller than all the men. (Two foot for Kimmy).
Our first night out in La Paz we met up with our friends Tommi and Lyndell who we met on the salt flats tour... #relationshipgoals - the coolest couple ever. The following day we rested our sore heads and had a quiet night in because we were cycling death road. I am happy to report that we are all alive and well with zero stacks. Death road was an experience. While we were all quietly s***ting ourselves, our tour company was safe and we had a great group. Every rest stop, we learnt another horror story about all the accidents that had occurred on Death Road. Not actually called that for its death toll from drivers or cyclists. But from the 10.000 Paraguayan prisoners of war who died building it. Once we safely made it to the bottom, we indulged in copious beers and led the way for the rest of our group to get pissed on the bus ride home. We got our guide absolutely s*** faced. He was only small, so it probably only took two beers. Everyone then came to our hostel to continue the party. After about an hour in the bar, all s*** broke loose. The bar staff told us all to go hide in our rooms. The police were raiding the joint. We still aren't entirely sure what was going on, but from our room in the attic, we could see the police going in and out of the bar. We weren't allowed out for over an hour and a half. By that time, hunger started to take over, and Kim and I thought f*** this, and asked the police to let us out so we could go and get food. Priorities.
Our final day in La Paz we boarded a bus with numerous others and went to go and watch the cholita wrestling. Think WWE. It was hilarious. They got the crowd involved, would have referees taking sides and while it was all purely for the tourists, it was done so well, you couldn't help but be entertained. La Paz shouldn't cop the bad rep it does. Truthfully, we didn't go to the dodgy areas, but why would you bother. Next stop - Lake Titicaca.