Live your daily moments deeply, as they occur…

There are people who can’t see the happiness of the present and think that life was more beautiful in the past. Some of us run to pursue the future. But the future is yet another ghost. Ghosts that take away much of our freedom. You see, the past makes the present and the present makes the future. Be in touch with the present, we are already in touch with the past and the future. We need to live our daily moments deeply, as they occur. This is freedom.

Arriving back in La Paz at 6am I walked down the main road to catch a taxi to San Miguel to “borrow” wifi from a cafe I had visited a few days before. After checking in and letting everyone know I was still alive I caught a collectivo bus back to Ronald’s house to rest up a bit and hang out with him and the 3 other couchsurfers (from Argentina and Brazil) he had been hosting in the 2 nights I was gone. We made breakfast together and sat for a while getting to know each other and enjoying the great company. After devouring our delicious meal we got ready to go explore the streets of La Paz.

This city is so full of life! Packed into a gorgeous mountain valley, the bustling markets filled with every color imaginable, from the  neon oranges, purples and purples on the blankets of the Cholitas, to the bright  yellows and reds of the fresh fruits and vegetables available on every corner filling the paceño street life, little trinkets of candy, money and baby llama fetuses to offer to the spirits….everywhere you turn there is something amazing to be seen! We found a hostel near the San Francisco church to hold my backpack for a few hours and then began the day at Mercado de las Brujas, found on José M Linares street, several streets behind Plaza San Francisco.

We walked in and out of the little shops that lined the streets looking at all of the intricate statues, funny t-shirts, potions, exotic wood carvings, gold, silver, bronze, medicinal herbs, colorful masks and even stuffed fetus of llamas. It feels a bit eerie looking at these lifeless animals displayed for sale, but they are part of a cultural tradition and it is always interesting to hear the history and the purpose behind these traditions. Bolivian masks are an essential part of celebrations, allowing dancers to adopt the personalities which populate the country’s myths and legends. Demons, dragons and angels join representations of real-world creatures like bears and beavers. Most interesting are the masks based on characters from Bolivian history, such as caricatures of Spanish matadors, and African slaves brought over to work in Potosí’s mines. The latter are depicted with bulging eyes and extended tongues — conditions which the slaves, who suffered terribly with altitude sickness, were actually afflicted with.

We ended up in front of the Cementerio Jardines. Crowds entered the cemetery to decorate their loved one’s resting place with trinkets, ribbons and flowers in hand from the florist across the street. Throughout the paths, worshipers and mourners huddled around little gardens, I thought it might be disrespectful to bother them with my camera snapping addiction during this time of grief, so I held off on the photos and decided to take mental snapshots.

The cemetery contains many elaborate marble tomb faces, decorated with statues, in a wide variety of architectural styles. The entire cemetery is laid out in sections like city blocks, with main walkways branching into sidewalks filled with mausoleums.While many of the mausoleums are in fine shape and well-maintained, others have fallen into disrepair with broken glass and withered flowers.

I picked up some fruit and snacks for my upcoming afternoon trip onto Copacabana, or perhaps more recognisable as Lake Titicaca (supposedly the world´s highest navigable lake). I stopped back at the hostel to grab my bag, caught a taxi back to the Cemetario neighborhood to find a new chariot . I could hear the man shouting “Copacabana! Copacabana! Copacabana! I sped up my pace as my monster of a bag bounced against my back, paid 17 Bolivianos ($2.45USD), hopped in and waited for the van to fill with the rest of the passengers for the 3 hour ride to the next leg of my journey. After waiting for 20 minutes I stepped onto the sidewalk to stretch and began talking to a fellow stretcher that was sitting a few seats back in the van. Ander was also planning on visiting Isle del Sol the following day. I gave him my Gypsy brochure and sat back down after the driver yelled “Vamanos!”  I was ecstatic when we pulled out and no one else was sitting in the front row with me! What?!? Space to stretch out and lay down during a trip! It was a miracle!

The beautiful glow of the sunset appeared within an hour of the ride, along with the crushing of the dreams I had of sitting alone…the driver stopped at several bus stops trying to fill up any empty seats and unfortunately for me he succeeded. My short time alone was much appreciated though.

Local transportation is always amusing. I chuckled as we rolled onto a sketchy looking ferry that seemed to be pieced together by a blind carpenter, with minimal floorboards that had nails sticking out everywhere, exposing the midnight blue water of Lake Titicaca underneath.

The streets were packed with people, food and music as we rolled in to Copacabana. Sadly there were no couchsurfers living in the area so I set out in search of Residencial Paris which had been referred by another surfer whom had been here several days before. As much as I didn’t want to stay in a hostel, 40 bolivianos ($5.75 USD) was within my budget and the room was nice so I sucked it up and enjoyed the accomodation. My new friend Ander from Spain was also in search of a place so he booked his stay as well and we set out to explore the streets.

Always living the daily moments deeply, as they occur helps to fully enjoy everything that comes your way.   It had been a long, eventful day and I was happy to have made it back from Uyuni, explore La Paz and arrive to Copocabana all in one piece…Until  next time amigos, hope you all are well!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kristi wiley
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 20:25:52

    This place sounds amazing. I tagged you in a post. I hope you can participate.
    http://runkwrun.blogspot.com/2012/08/i-was-tagged-for-liebster-award-by.html

    Reply

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