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11. Posted by Kingwindle (Respected Member 301 posts) 11y

Sorry to interrupt the nature of this post but what trouble did you see in Bolivia Greg?? Was it against the Gringo or was it just general trouble??? i'm only asking because I'm nosey and intrigued!

12. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y

When I was there the police were on strike. I saw them protesting outside the government buildings a couple of days, generally peacefully.

The violence in La Paz began the night of Wednesday, February 12th, 2003, when the 7,000 striking police officers and civilian protesters clashed with government troops over a new tax plan. The protesters left a dozen government buildings in flames after picking them clean, tossing chairs, papers and radios out of windows and walking off with computers. They shouted slogans calling for the president to step down: "Resign or die, those are your options!" As sirens wailed, bands of looters ran through central La Paz, where tanks and 400 heavily armed soldiers were deployed near the presidential palace. Over the two days, 22 people were killed, including at least nine police officers, and 102 were injured.

I was staying at a hotel about 4 blocks from the presidential palace. The hotel rolled down a big metal blast door, and I stayed in the hotel all day watching the violence unfold on CNN. It all ended about 3 o'clock in the afternoon (at least in La Paz - trouble continued on in Sucre for a while after).

As I said, I just stayed indoors and kept my head down. Though there was a part of me that wanted to grab my camera and go out and play "intrepid reporter." But the altitude sickeness I was suffering from made sure that plan was dashed.

CNN Link

13. Posted by Kingwindle (Respected Member 301 posts) 11y

That is heavy!! No doubt you stayed in with tanks and heavily armed guards, I think I would definately have done the same. Was that as soon as you arrived then?? I guess this because of the altitude sickness. From some friends that have been there it wore off in a day, and he was in excrutiating pain and sickness. How long did it last for you??

14. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y

I never got over the altitude sickness. I was hoping that it would go away, but it just got worse and worse. Eventually after 6 days in La Paz, I got on a bus and went down to Arica, Chile. I never really got to see much of La Paz at all.

I think I made two mistakes with regards to the altitude. First, I flew in directly from Buenos Aires. Going from sea level to 12,000 feet directly is not a great idea. Secondly, I was already feeling sick and hadn't gotten much sleep at all, so my body was really weak when first in La Paz. Doing it over again, I would probably start in Peru and head up through Cusco, Machu Pichu, Lake Titicaca & Isla Del Sol before hitting La Paz (basically the exact reserve of the route that I had planned).

The tank stuff happened on my 4th day there. I was planning on leaving on that day, but had to wait for a couple more days to get a bus out.

15. Posted by zzzzzz (Budding Member 4 posts) 11y

one thing you could do to solve ur problem is to pretend you went.

get a fake tan and buy some old long shorts and faded t shirts and tell everyone ur going but then lock urself in ur house.

or better still dig a hole in ur garden and sleep there for awhile and then u can tell everyone made up stories about ur trip.

this way u will not get mugged raped or sold as a slave in some poor country.

hope it goes well for u.

16. Posted by donlee23 (Full Member 34 posts) 11y

Great topic! As a long term resident gringo in Central America who speaks Spanish and is as integrated into society as one can get (including relatives) in the country where I reside, I often find natives to be far more fearful than I, middle and upper middle class women here and most men drive with windows up all times a/c or no. I always drove with my window wide open and my worst car hassles were getting windows smashed and radio or mirrors robbed. I learned a long time ago to make friends from the street level (guards, taxi drivers, service people, and yes gang members) up, do people little favors (though never lend money or give advice on aquiring a visa to the US or Canada!)and have a sense of humor. Latins love slapstick (The "Three Stooges" reruns very popular even among intellectuals) so I learned how to laugh, joke and make fun of myself. They gave me a funny nickname in Antigua years ago that still sticks! I can pick out a "tourist" by both their attire and attitude (all seem self concious at first). Everything is attitude..attitude, I have escorted visitors who were highly educated with excellent Spanish skills who got in problems because..of their "attitude" (If one knows everything there is nothing more to learn) and others with practically no Spanish who had a great time and made friends..again attitude. Yes, if one wants to be 100% safe and secure you should stay home and lock the door. If you decide to come to "paradise" come with an open heart and mind and smile and keep smiling..We have a great Spanish course on line also. Message me.

17. Posted by mirapat (Full Member 19 posts) 11y

You are too young to travel by yourself. Please, look for others to amke a group. You will enjoy your travel. I assure you that.

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