Sunday, June 3, 2012

Our first day in La Paz enjoying the Gran Poder parade

Slept for a few hours, we woke up at 9am, made some breakfast and enjoyed a chat with Daltry, our host in La Paz.

He was kind and gentle, with an intense interest in people and pay much attention when talking with everyone. We enjoyed chatting with him. As a translator, Daltry also speaks excellent English. In fact, we are told there was not many translator in La Paz (and in Bolivia as well) and he was one of the few.

We took a walk at noon for the market and the annual Gran Poder, a big street parade, supposingly praising Jesus for his mighty power but turns out a 65 groups parade, showing off how rich people are by their expensive costume and getting drunk until 3am. Daltry was not interested in the event and he stayed home for rest and work.

When the minimum wage in Bolivia is B$1000 per month, those fancy costume at Gran Poder cost at least US$500 and took long time to handmade.

We walked along Avenue Camacho and Avenida 16 de Julio for the parade, which was just one block away from where we stayed.

The road was blocked and there are chairs around the street. Groups danced and played instruments while walking down the slope. Hawkers were selling caps, food, beer all along the area and we managed to squeeze in the performance zone to walk along with the performers for a while, until we were stopped by the police.

It was a one-day-only performance, and performers danced with fancy costume, with music and drumming, people also grasped the chance to get drunk. It was rather ironic with its background of the parade celebrating the mighty power of Jesus. The costumes were fancy but the parade, frankly, was nothing compared to Sombodromo's in Rio.

We watched a while and tried to go to nearby market but they were all closed. We returned at 4pm and Adley managed to make some fried rice out of the kitchen resources. 

We head out at 6pm and Daltry showed us Mirador Killi Killi, a place that we are able to see views of the town,but need to walk slowly, first because the crowd ion Avenida 16 de Julio were still there, people were drinking and music were loud in the street, secondly, due to the altitude, it's 3800m above the sea surface here.

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