The day before yesterday, I sqeezed into a collectivo minivan with 18 other people, luggage on top, and made way to La Paz. I was dropped off on a side street somewhere on the hill seen in the last photo and flagged down a taxi. In my pitiful broken Spanish I asked the driver to take me to my hotel which I assumed was nearby. We were at a level even with this last picture's vantage point and it was only half way. Truthfully I had never been on such a ride. Like a car on an insane roller coaster, the cab rocketed down windy narrow cobblestone streets until we hit the bottom as seen in the third picture. The topography of 11,000 foot La Paz looks like a tiara, a valley, filled with buildings, surrounded by the steepest hillsides covered with houses and towered over and visible on a clear day by snow-covered 19,000 foot Mt. Illimani.
I found the streets noisy and crowded and to give you a sense of the divirgent growing population, I chose to share with you the not particulary interesting the second photo snapped in front of the Iglesia de San Francisco. The top picture of two older women was taken to the left of the second picture. You probably wonder about the hat worn by the lady on the left It is called a bombin and became popular in Bolivia in the 1920's. I have seen them worn predominently by middle aged and older women. It may be in vogue now and considered stylish, but have no idea how to ask or whether I should ask, and then again, I doubt that I would be able to understand the answer.
Tomorrow early, I leave for Cochabamba and begin my work at the orphanage. It is a seven hour bus ride and, let me assure you, its not Greyhound nor will I be the only person on the bus! I know I 'll be staying in a room in a house belonging to the director's mother. I doubt that I'll have the internet. This probably means that I'll be reaching you through an internet cafe that will hopefully allow me to upload photos. I still have so much I'd love to share.