Flying into La Paz in the morning was incredible, where we could see the shantytowns laying around the airport in El Alto at 4000 meters, while the nicest houses were located down in the valley where it was almost a thousand meters lower, and therefore a lot warmer.
These were things that were well explained on a free walking tour, that starts every morning outside of the worlds craziest prison, the San Pedro Prison, which is fully run by the 2500 inmates and their families that live inside. Rapists and murderers were placed in a much worse prison on top of a mountain, where it was constantly cold, but in San Pedro there were criminals of bribery, narcotics, fraud etc who are mainly living peacefully together with their families on the inside, with just around 10 people patroling the prison on the outside. The kids and wives are allowed outside to go to work and school, but the prisoners have to stay inside, where they have their jobs, rented apartments and had their own markets and restaurants.
It was also really interesting hearing how it worked on the bolivian markets, where bartering only would lead to higher prices or rejection, while talking nicely to them and maybe flattering the sales ladies will give you the best prices. All ladies selling apples and grapes will sit next to each other, while the ones selling the same cheeses will be sitting next to each other, so the Bolivians will choose the lady that is nicest to them and be loyal to that sales lady through generations, as the sales lady then will save the best chese for them and give them some extra every time they come buy from them.
They also explained a lot about the “Cholitas”, the natives wearing long skirts and a hat that revealed if they were single or married by wearing it straigt or on the side. The only thing they could reveal through their thick clothing were their calves, which was the most important part of a woman because strong legs would mean that they were suitable to work and carry children at the same time. The Cholitas with the strongest legs were the ones fighting in the Cholita wrestling shows, where lots of local men would gather at the arena every sunday to watch these women with the same kind of eyes that people back home follow the Victoria Secret fashion show. Quite fascinating to hear about, and even more fascinating to see live on the stadium. Tickets were sold at our hotel “Las Brisas” and at most agencies for 80BOB/12US pp which included return bus ride, entrance ticket, popcorn, postcards and water.
The wrestling show was quite interactive and crazy, where the Cholitas got the whole crowd engaged by yelling, spitting, throwing water dragging the audience up to the stage to wrestle or force-kissing them. These things and the fact that every second someone could be flying over the fence and into your lap made you really alert throughout the show. The Cholita wrestling show is not anything I would have gone to see at home or would have watched on tv for that sake, but here at the stadium in Bolivia where everything could happen it almost got us as pumped with adrenaline as when riding the death road, and for anyone being in La Paz on a Sunday, I would definately reccomend going.