Saturday, 16 August 2014

La Paz, Bolivia: Part 3: Pick Pocketed & The Ring of Fire

After death road and conquering my bucket list item of going above 6,000m I still wasn't quite finished in La Paz. There was one more challenge awaiting me... The World's Most Dangerous Vindaloo!

I wanted to earn my 3rd T-Shirt from La Paz. The challenge awaiting me was a huge bowl of vindaloo (beef for me) with about 30 chopped up chilies. I had been eyeing off this challenge since my second day in La Paz but didn't want to touch it until after I had finished all adventures that required being away from a toilet for extended periods of time.

Look at those chilies and seeds all through it.

Looking pretty happy for someone about to give themselves a ring burner

I've always been able to eat chili like a champ and after the first couple of mouthfuls this actually wasn't the hottest thing I had eaten but there was so much. After about 10 mouthfuls in I was well and truly feeling it and still had most of the bowl to go. Mouthful after mouthful it got hotter and hotter. I was determined and finished it in about 15 to 20 mins.

Well before I finished I knew the "Real Challenge" was going to occur hours after finishing.

Still smiling!

3rd T-Shirt

I now had 3 T-Shirts just to wear around as passive brags and I really needed more clothes after over 14 months of traveling. 

Death Road, 6,088m and the Vindaloo

As I correctly predicted that night (I did the challenge for lunch) I woke up early in the night sweating profusely with what felt like a raging inferno in my chest spreading outwards. I had never felt heat like that... Let's just say Johnny Cash's The Ring of Fire played about 15 times during that night.

The next day my hostel friend, Louise, a Malaysian girl from Melbourne asked me to go to El Alto with her. I was feeling pretty dehydrated and out of it. Still, I really wanted to see the famous Thursday market in El Alto.

I had warned many people that it is a thieve's market and you need to be very careful. I stupidly still took my wallet. After taking the gondola into the sky Lou and I had arrived. 

I told Lou I was going to grab some water then come back. That's when things went very wrong for me. I bought a bottle of water and started walking back to Lou. The walking traffic came to a stop, water splashed across my face (I think spat from someone's mouth), someone on the opposite side (who also got hit by the water) instantaneously started speaking to me really fast in Spanish... Then my brain recovered from the split second information overload and went OHH FUCK. I knew what had just happened before I even reached for my now unzipped and empty jacket pocket.

Everyone was in on it, the people that stopped traffic flow, the water spitter (sometimes they throw shit on your face instead), the fast speaker and the guy I never saw that was probably walking behind me right next to my zipped up pocket. I like to think the money helped out their families.

Lou sorted me out with some money to survive my last 3 days in Bolivia.

The next morning I was on a Bolivia Hop bus to Cusco, Peru via 2 stops.

Next Stop Copacabana, Bolivia!

Lessons Learnt:
T-Shirt + Burning Ass = Possibly not worth it
Making new friends while travelling pays off. Lou has helped me out again since I moved to Melb 2.5 years later.
La Paz = City of many Adventures.
Sometimes you just have to admire how good people are at what they do (even if they are thieves).
Hack-sawing a padlock to get into a locker is pretty quick (key was in my wallet).