Tuesday, July 21, 2009

La Paz, Day 1: Bicentennial Celebration

July 16 was the 200th anniversary of La Paz´s independence. To celebrate, the entire city partied for two days straight. There were fireworks, free performances by Bolivia´s most popular bands, parades, dancing, appearances by Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez, and lots and lots of bebidas.

I arrived in the city at about 7am on July 16 along with two friends of mine from the Maryknoll Institute. The three of us were surprised to see the streets still sprinkled with fighting couples and drunken men at 7am. We went to a cafe for breakfast, and saw five men still drinking beer while their wives slept on the table. Bolivians party hard.

We spent most of our morning touring around the deserted streets of the city, visiting the San Francisco Cathedral and shopping in some of the artesania shops. Mike´s friend who lives in La Paz met up with us to show us around the city later in the day. She took us to Moon Valley, showed us around one of the wealthiest parts of Bolivia (where she happens to live), and took us to a mountain top where we watched the sun set over the city. It was really a fun day and thanks to Kelly, we were able to see quite a bit of La Paz.

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