More La Paz – and my Ice Bucket Challenge

The next morning (August 28th) we were not surprised when the hotel hadn’t arranged our taxi, and called for it as we checked out. We made our early flight regardless and were thankful to be back in La Paz with both of us still a bit ropey. We spent the majority of the day in bed back at Hostel Naira, sipping water and feeling sorry for ourselves.

August 29th came and was a good day. We both woke with hunger and little pain, and I wasn’t as grumpy as the previous few days. Pancakes and bananas went down a treat at Naira and after showering we headed to Kanoo Tours. We explained to the staff that ‘Al Extremo’ were dissatisfactory and Kanoo were again more than helpful, providing us with a refund. We gave some of this back immediately in exchange for 2 tickets and a lift to Cholitas Wrestling, which is on Sunday and we are both looking forward to. They also emailed us prices and details for some trips with Banjo Tours, which was very helpful.

We left happy and went for a look around the infamous ‘Witches Market’, where they sell llama foetuses as good luck charms for new houses, amongst other oddities.

Llama foetuses hanging up
Llama foetuses hanging up

We have noticed here in La Paz that competing shops tend to set up right next to each other. For example we have walked through rows of hardware, fruit, electrical, hairdressing and clothes shops. Its strange because if let’s say I set up a barbers in a different area, I would have all the custom from that area, while ‘hairdresser street’ shops all share their custom. Anyway, today we found ourselves in football shirt heaven. Any major team, club or country, any size, with a number, for about £15. We did a bit of bartering, finding the right shirt size and shop hopping, and I emerged as the proud owner of a new number 10 top from Bolivian side ‘The Strongest’, and yes I chose purely on the name!

Gemma fancied a notepad for her scribblings and another quick barter later we had a fancy Bolivian notepad for 19 Bs. We headed home to get changed and ready for today’s main event, Urban Rush! Basically its abseiling or rappelling (forward abseiling) down a 50 metre vertical wall that just happens to be home to a 5 star hotel.

We jumped off the top!
We jumped off the top!

An Aussie guy was up first, and after a tetchy start he walked down happy. Next was a European guy, not sure what nationality, but he was dressed as Captain America and looked nervous. He got strapped in, looked over the edge and said ‘i cant do it’, after the Urban Rush lady tried so convincingly to get him to go ‘there are no refunds’, he asked to be unstrapped and took a seat until the jelly left his legs.

Practice wall
Practice wall
Practice wall
Practice wall
Practice wall
Practice wall

Gemma was up first (abseiling, but dressed as batwoman!) and she was a bit edgy at first, but once in her stride she stole the show and eased to the bottom, despite a little crash into the wall! She has never abseiled before so her first ever abseil was off the top of a 17 storey building 3,710 metres above sea level!!

Batwoman!
Batwoman!
It was bloody high
It was bloody high

gemma2 gemma3 gemmanearly

Landing!
Landing!
Buzzing!
Buzzing!

I was next, and rappelling forward 50 metres up is tough the first time, as my initial lean over the edge showed (took me an age!). After I was vertical it was really enjoyable, and I preferred sliding to steps as it was smoother and I could go faster. 20 metres from the bottom you get a ‘free fall’ where you kick off from the building are stopped at the last minute. Definitely the best bit!

alan

Waving!
Waving!
Landed
Landed

I had also been ‘nominated’ on Facebook to do the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ so saw an opportunity. They couldn’t let me throw the water from 50 metres so I did what I could. We tipped the guys well because they were quality and helped us massively. I donated £5 to MND and £5 to Water Aid. Gemma’s Mum has challenged her too so watch this space!

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