Bolivia has always been on the top of my list of countries to visit. However the reason I kept postponing this trip was the challenge getting there. It is completely landlocked and I can tell you, reaching Bolivia was definately not easy.
The capital La Paz felt like a small provincial town when I arrived. Nowadays things are considered to be better for the indigenous people than ever before. But it is still a country where poverty rules.
Women still wear their beautiful traditional clothing, layers & layers of skirts and I keep wondering how do these small hats stay put?
The image of the city is vibrant but aslo a bit sad at the same time.We find families on each streetcorner, begging for food or money.
The poor live up high in the city, the rich live in the valley. This means you actually pay to enjoy more sunlight & have more oxygen in La Paz.
After the first few days in La Paz I knew I came to the right place. There are numerous of treasures to be found. No need for sweaty hunting at all. I am in between dozens of little dust covered antique shops with nice little men wearing huge glasses. Piles of gorgeous leather embroidered trunks & handwoven alpaca woollen rugs & ribbons. Bright colored Inca feathers & Colonial sadles are tucked away in corners. I loved it right from the start!
Then comes the Bolivia Business part. My enthusiasm faded away as I slowly realized there was not a soul in these alleys, that spoke English. And my Spanish is even worse. On top of that the Bolivians lack a bit of sales mentality. After spending hours to choose rugs, chuspas and trinkets, I would come back the next day to pick it up and would find it was all put back on the shelves & piles again. It did not make things go more smooth, thats for sure.
After La Paz I continued my journey to Salta provincie & Uyuni. In Salta I collected more gorgeous rugs & weavings, exactly where this area is famous for. We visited Uyuni, the endless salt lake. Salt will never be the same again after this.
Three weeks later,it was time to go home. Getting the goods out of Bolivia was not that easy. After asking around, shipping seemed the best way to never see your goods again.
Nevertheless we managed to get it all back home through air.This journey has been rewarding, fascinating & so challenging.
A big thank you for the help of Yuki & Phil, my good friends that live in La Paz. Without you guys there would not have been any Doing Bolivia possible.