Thursday, September 27, 2007
Today went to visit Tiwanaku which is about 72kms from La Paz. It is one of the oldest Andean sites in South America. The civilization began about 1600 b.c. and was at its strongest at least 1000 years before the Incas came to this area. So the site is amazingly well preserved considering it´s date. They are still discovcring and excavating a lot of the area as it covers a large part of the valley. The most impressive is the ceremonial temple which is all based around the sun and the equinoxes and has load of brilliant carved faces in the stone. I´ve managed to upload some of my photos if you want to see more:
We had the funniest guide - she was a very sweet Aymara woman who had to contend with a group speaking five different languages. It is probably the first time someone has ever called me tall - as she only came up to well below my shoulder. When she saw one of the guys who was about 6´4 she just giggled away.
I´ve also managed to see a bit more of La Paz. It´s a crazy, busy city where you have to risk your life trying to cross the road. Luckily most of the streets are one way so you only have to worry about getting killed in one direction! On the main thoroughfare there is one zebra crossing where they actually have people dressed as zebras to help you across. ´Tis mad.
Took a break from the mayhem to visit some of the museums - first the museum of Musical Instruments was really interesting with wind and string instruments of all shapes and sizes. There were various stringed instruments where the case was made of all sorts of animals including tortoise, chincilla, armadillo but my favourite one was made from a Spam tin.
The museum of Precious Metals was amazing in that it contained an incredible collection of gold from Tiwanaku and other sites. There were some beautiful gold head-dresses which were in great condition. Apparently in pre-Columbian times the whole temples at Tiwanaku were covered with gold which must have looked incredible before it was all stolen away.
Better go cos this connection is costing a whole 30cent a hour! Everything very cheap here - it´s a real issue to have to change a 100 Boliviano note - that´s about a tenner.
Posted by KP at 4:50 PM