Saturday 23 May

Since we are all over the worst of our various ailments, we decide to tackle the Muela del Diablo day-hike described in the guidebook. This is a short hike from the edge of the city up to a prominant rock shaped like a molar. We are rather late up though and begin with breakfast back at the Torino Café, from where we send an electronic mail message from one of the internet terminals to the church office in Nottingham.


Carnival

We change some more money, and then find outselves in the middle of a street carnival as we make our way to where we pick up the micro 288 at the bottom of Calle Mexico. By the time we reach the end of the bus line where our walk begins, it is not far off lunchtime. The small café at the side of the dusty football pitch where we stop is clearly dependent on the bus route for its trade. We pause for a drink, and then in the heat of the day start to make our way up the twisting track.


Rocky Pinnacles


Devil’s Molar

Fine dust lies inches thick on the track, and it is a hot, tiring climb. We find ourselves further to the left than the guidebook suggests and end up walking through a dramatic canyon-like cutting into the hillside. The weather has erroded the rock into tall pinacles, and with the mixture of yellow, pink, red, and volcanic black, it is very reminiscent of the rock formations of Bryce Canyon, Utah. We finally reach the ridge and ascertain where we are in relation to the route in the book. Conveniently, we are able to make a round-trip of it, following the book’s route on the way back down. The Devil’s Molar is a bit of a disappointment, but as we come around onto the path back down, we have a splendid view over the city to the high plane in the far distance.

It is four o’clock by the time we make it back to the hotel. This leads to a complicated debate over the plan for the rest of the evening. There is final shopping in La Paz to be done, a visit to Marcia, a Christian concert that she has recommended, and dinner to be had. One of them has to go. We end up with an hour for the shopping, and then take a taxi to Marcia’s house. We intend to stay just a few minutes or so since she is not well, just to thank her and say our goodbyes, but she has laid on tea and biscuits and we remain for almost an hour, chatting about our holiday and Jim Gleve’s expedition. It is not easy to find a taxi to take us back to the hotel, but we make it back and eat dinner at the Residencial Rosario once more. This time, the highly recommended chocolate mousse is most emphatically not off the menu.