Sunday, August 9, 2009

Day 30 - A Bowl of a City

Boiled milk with honey, honey-covered bananas, sliced oranges, and sandwiches wiht fresh avocado spread, tomotoes, and the cheese I adore so much - our self-made breakfast was as filling as it was delicious. After all, who likes exploring a city on an empty stomach?

La Paz is large, divided into sections as Lima was. We started our journey in the museum district, visiting The Museum of Musical Instruments. It highlighted the evolution of music in Bolivia, showcasing ancient instruments while allowing us to play with others. I saw some novel pieces, such as a two sided violin with a stringed bridge on either side. A pentagonal guitar with five sets of strings was another unique item. There was an ample collection of percussion as well, much of which I got to sample playing. We must have spent at least an hour there, enjoying the music we created along with the beauty of the instruments preserved behind glass. The music museum, I would imagine, is the type of place that kids would love going to. 100% kid-approved. Those kinds are always the best.

The afternoon was spent lazying about on one of the smaller plazas in La Paz. It´s quite surprising, how much activity takes palce on a plaza. There´s the pigeons, and then there are the people who sell feed for the pigeons. Mothers buy the seed so that their young ones may find amusement in feeding the birds, only to run after them later. Puddings and jellos are paraded around the square so as to tempt the families that idle on the plaza´s steps and benches. Teenagers selling coloring books and Learn-English-Guides-For-Kids market their wares to the parents. Of course, the whole family would love to take a picture by the picturesque statue, no? That´s what the photographers with their professional Canons are there for. Let´s not forget the frequent shoe-shiner who has plenty of clients ready to have their leather polished and buffed. I love the smell of shoe polish, so when a young boy was polishing the shoes of a man near me, I inhaled extra long. Yum.

A local bus will take us to Uyuni tonight. This is the city where people often go to see Salar, the famous salt flats created by minerals deposted from nearby mountains into an evaporated lakebed. I prefer that we take a guided tour around the Salar area for a few days. The boys would rather explore the area without the tour. Oh well, democracy means majority rules. The bus ride is twelve hours, from 7 pm to 7 am. Even though it´s a local bus, each passenger is given a thick blanket, and the seats recline quite a bit. Plus, they´re showing Starship Troopers on the television in front of the bus. It´s in English, so the tourists are wide awake. If you haven´t seen the movie, don´t bother. A Ken-lookalike and an ever-smiling Denise Richards are the protagonists, and large spiders are the bad guys. The acting is pretty bad, but it´s entertaining.

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