The Americas travel blog

We don't bother to go back to bed as we feel okay and got enough sleep on the bus. We have breakfast first and then we get our big suitcases from the Hotel storeroom and start to amalgamate everything back together. This will be interesting as we did have to buy quite a few warm clothes. Mid morning we have a break and go to Cafe del Mundo for a coffee.

At 11 am we meet Eilis in the foyer as we are going to meet an American guy who talks about his 16 years in San Pedro Prison in La Paz for smuggling drugs. We are early for the meeting place for the tour, which is a small square near the prison, so decide to go down to the main street. We find it has been blocked off and a large fair is being held, food and craft stalls, exercise classes, bands and lots and lots of local families enjoying the activities. We stop at a restaurant to have some salteƱas which are savoury pastries filled with beef, pork or chicken mixed in a sweet, slightly spicy sauce, and sometimes also containing peas, eggs, olives, raisins and potatoes. Delicious and a perfect light lunch.

At 1 pm we make our way back to the square for the tour. Dave is an interesting character. His narration of his time in the jail, which is opposite where we sit in the park, is more theatrical than factual but its entertaining and he does it for tips. Judging by the notes being passed to him after, he probably does okay. He certainly still has drug/mental health issues, he is a bit out there! San Pedro Prison is renowned for being a society within itself. Significantly different from most correctional facilities, inmates at San Pedro have jobs inside the community, buy or rent their accommodation, and often live with their families. The doors open each morning and the children leave the prison to attend the nearby school. Dave used take tourists inside the prison during the tour but thank goodness that has stopped. I would be too afraid they wouldn't let us out.

Back to the Hotel for a bit and then we go to have a drink at the cafe where we met the Australian a week ago. The cafe is called Higher Ground and is run by another Australian, Mark, who sold up everything in Australia and now has residency in Bolivia. The coffee is good and the cafe has a nice feel to it so we wish him well. At 6.30 we meet Eilis to have a last dinner. Eilis is off to the Amazon jungle and then Colombia for a week and we head to Santiago to our apartment tomorrow. For dinner we have alpaca schnitzel. Alpaca is good, we enjoy it.

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