I spent my first idle days in La Paz walking around the area close to Estrella Andina (my hostel.) I discovered a particularly fascinating street called "The witches' market". They had all sorts of interesting charms there. I still think the most curious thing I saw was the miscarried baby llamas that were sold as good luck charms. The longer I stayed in La Paz, the more fascinated I grew with the mix of Catholicism and the belief in Pachamama (Mother earth.) I heard about sacrifices that were made to Mother Earth (especially in August) and I wished I was still in Bolivia at that time.
I ventured a bit further in La Paz and found myself at the San Francisco church. It was built to honor St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron saint of the environment and animals and a major advocate for poverty as a way of getting closer to God and humanity. After this, the next main place on my map was "the big market" or something of the sort. I went there expecting to find a market market - local crafts, unique stuff etc. Instead it turned out to be a lot of shops selling Chinese goods - handbags, electronics, misc. items......It was so underwhelming.
When I was in Bolivia, I always seemed to attract old men. Most of them were quite harmless though, so I stopped making up my imaginary fiance who "is quite jealous and is waiting for me at the hostel." Quite a few ended up just wanting to walk around with this conspicuous stranger and hear about Kenya. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they did not have ulterior motives.
I discovered this place close to my hostel that had amazing local food in huge portions and for great prices. One afternoon I decided I wanted to go check out the La paz party scene. I went online and found people talking about "Oliver's traveller pub." I went in and the feel was quite familiar - felt like many Irish pubs the world over. It was nice to go back to speaking English for a few hours. I grabbed a cold beer and was animatedly chatting with the bartender (oh how many words one can hold inside them when they are in a place where they don't really speak the language. I talked and talked and talked. I was so happy to be able to communicate fluidly.
Another tourist walked in and I tried not to judge him, but I feel like I have met his type many times before - older, weather beaten, of unclear occupation and unsound mind, believes he is the real tourist while all the rest of you are amateurs etc, holds views on Africa that date back to around when Joseph Conrad wrote "The Heart of Darkness" or stuck in the pre-independence era of the mid 50s. I was spot on in my judgement. He walked up to me and asked "What are YOU doing here?" I thought of not being combative, then decided that strategy would mean I would have to suffer through some mind-numbing soliloquy on his life in the wild wild South America. I told him, "same thing you are doing here. I am a tourist." He seemed taken aback by the words coming out of my mouth (probably having expected a response in click sounds and hand gestures.)
I did have to suffer through some part of a soliloquy in which he tried to find some connection to me by telling me about some distant relative's Nigerian husband (who turned out to be a 419 scam artist.) I found some way of escaping the guy. Later on I did go back to Oliver's pub for drinks. On that night, free shots were being offered for dressing up in costumes (which were at the back of the bar.) I got into my costume and enjoyed my evening of shots and English.