I have been in La Paz for a week and a bit working through my Passport Issues. Now that carnival is over, I have learned to move to the beat of this very odd city and I have found that I really like it. However after 8 days breathing at this altitude is still tough, the smog gets to you and you can only eat so much deep fried chicken and cold french fries. La Paz does not have the arrogant charm or Buenos Aires, the modern flow of Santiago or the modern and old towns of Quito or Panama City. What is does have is a chaotic frenzy pace with a laid back feel if that is possible, friendly helpful people, insane drivers, long rolling cobblestone streets, colourful native vendors selling everything from hats to dried llama fetuses, and hidden colonial buildings with pock marked history riddled all over them. La Paz certainly moves to its own weird pace.
Well today was the day. After some back and forth with the glorious Canadian Embassy I was told I would get my travel document at 1 00. Now as much as I want to say this has been stress free, well it has not been. I know the process and procedures just have to be followed, which I did to a letter but I am dealing with Government Bureaucracies and you know that somewhere along the way you are going to get the "oh, by the way we need this or you need to do that". Well there was a friendly voice back in Canada to help me through this and today was no different.
I made a point of being close to the Embassy so when the email came I would be on it like a fat kid on a smartie. I had the walk down as I had done it 4 times now, plus the three cab rides. I found a trusty Internet cafe, logged on to FB and Gmail. Then like a teenager waiting for a phone call I kept hitting check mail every 3 minutes even though the mail would come when it was sent. 12 20 the email comes, my document is ready. I was out the door and ran up the street like a wild man. Ladies selling vegetables we knocked over, cars slammed on their brakes, people moved to the side of the sidewalk or crossed over to the other side of the street. This Gringo was LOCO!
A 45 minute wait, come on! You just said you were ready. Oops forgot, its lunchtime and you can not mess with a government employees lunch break. I needed a beer. Lunch was over and with documents in hand I said good bye to my newest friend the security guard at the embassy door and noticed the rain outside. Screw it, I danced down the stairs doing my best Gene Kelly and walked back to my hotel in a downpour. It was a cleansing so to speak...and now I was getting the This Gringo is LOCO looks from everyone because I was soaked and smiling.
Now its time for a well deserved beer.