Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturday, Feb 9th, La Paz, Bolivia


We drove from the top to the bottom of La Paz today.  At the top, we walked around the mudded Valley of the Moon, which looks a lot like our Bryce Canyon in Arizona.  The more expensive homes are perched in gated and reinforced communities up there, and owned by ex-politicians, oilmen, and diplomats.  They have also included expensive schools for their children, and plenty of security.  But they have landslides when it rains.

On one of these hills, the city has recently taken over the property and is making a beautiful vista park which we visited.  Towering peaks surround this valley, and the location is spectacular.
We plunged down into the city plazas, and saw the Presdential offices, legislative chambers, and courts.  As the Carnival was being organized along the city's main street, all of the traffic in the city was in chaos.  We chose to walk as much as our oxygen-strapped lungs would allow, and stopped by the Witches and Crafts Markets.

We also spent some time in the Museo de Instruments Musicale, holder of the Guinness book of World Record for most instruments, and admired the collection of unique Andean musical artifacts.

The more you travel to see other places in which you think people lived differently, the more you find your shared values and interests with them.  Whether the present day people, or those who preceded them, you find it easier to understand their lives and communities, and how alike we all are.

Our trip turns tomorrow to less looking into the past, and more absorbing the present.  So I thought I'd acknowledge how taken I've been by the opportunities it's given us to see so clearly back so far into this region.  It takes a lot of work to create people with as much to love as those in this region.  It doesn't just happen without a rich blend of highly-developed societies, each contributing to the next.

The uniqueness of Carnival de la Candelaria in La Paz today is that it's all about  helping the kids have fun.  It has its origin in asking Virgin Mary as Mother Earth to be kind to the crops and the people of the Sun.  But it's also about just asking what everyone wants for their children: a little peace and prosperity.  For Bolivians to have finally found a few years of political stability, and be on the road to righting old divisions between indigenous people and economic exploitation, let's hope their prayers are answered.  It's been great to join Bolivia in it's celebration.

Gregory and Pat

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello from Santa Rosa, the one in California. We're pooped trying to keep up with you two. Worried about Pat's legs with all the walking and standing. Machu pix were wonderful, so too the La Paz shots. Still recall your bus ride with the pee-only hole. Next time remember to bring you depends, just in case. MacPs