Jackie Chan to the Rescue


This blog entry about the events of Tuesday, January 06, 2004 was originally posted on January 07, 2004.

DAY 80:  Still feeling sick, I just slept in my hostel dorm bed all morning to recuperate.  Joel the Australian chemistry student probably thought I was lame because instead of staying a couple more days to hang out like we were planning, he decided to ditch me and the city of La Paz and head south with a bus ticket.

By early afternoon, I was feeling better and, determined not to have a Blog entry with just a picture of me sleeping all day, I decided to wander around town.  Walking passed the Plaza San Francisco with its Iglesia de San Francisco, I made my way through La Paz’s busy, metropolitan streets down the main Avenida Mariscal Santa Cruz, which turned into the Plaza Venezuela, which fed into the Plaza del Estudiante.  It was quite a way and my sore throat had come back with all the exertion.  All I craved for was some Chinese soup again. 

Since I couldn’t find a Chinese place in my hostel’s neighborhood the night before, I was determined to find one this day in the more cosmopolitan area of the city.  Using the Lonely Planet guide, I walked passed all the roasted chicken stands, passed the Burger King and the In-N-Out Burger, to a point on the map where there was supposed to be a Chinese food restaurant.  However, when I got there, it had already been transformed to a Mac-user graphic design shop (the Lonely Planet book is about three years outdated) and the only other Chinese food place I found nearby was closed.  So I went wandering around some more — surely I was bound to run into one.

LA PAZ IS SITUATED IN A CANYON, with the main road running across the bottom of the chasm.  This means that whenever you want to go somewhere other than the main road, you have no choice but to go uphill.  In fact, walking to anywhere in La Paz involves going uphill — what goes down, must go back up if you’re doing a round trip — and with the thin air at almost 12,000 ft. ASL, going uphill all the time isn’t such a hot idea when your lungs have a cold. 

I wandered around, walking up and down streets and stair plazas, my heart pumping faster than normal to supply oxygen to my brain.  My only mission was to find a Chinese food place and for hours I had no luck.  I was about to give up on Chinese food to settle on some caldo de pollo — until Jackie Chan came to the rescue.

BY “JACKIE CHAN” I don’t mean the martial arts star that does his own stunts, the one that may or may not “understand the words coming out of [Chris Tucker’s] mouth” in Rush Hour.  By “Jackie Chan” I mean some other random Chinese guy with a restaurant in La Paz.  A spicy hot and sour soup did my sinuses good, while three cups of hot Chinese tea soothed my throat — not to mention making me take a really long whiz.

With the help of “Jackie Chan”, I was a new man again and continued to wander the city. 

“HEY!” I CALLED, waving my hand to the Danish family when I noticed the four of them walking down the main strip at the bottom of the canyon.  We chatted for a bit about what we had seen in La Paz so far, and Elizabeth and I agreed that La Paz was nothing like we expected.  Perhaps due to the raised expectations spawned from the raves from other travelers and Lonely Planet, we agreed it was “just another big city.”  Usually I appreciate big cities as much as I do natural destinations, as long as they emit a unique pulse or vibe.  Perhaps I felt no vibe because I only felt sick for most of the time.

I parted ways with the Danish family again and wandered around the streets with handicraft shops and the markets that sold everything from chicken to chicken wire.  I walked across the chasm and up the hill to the Plaza Pedro Murillo, surrounded by Bolivian government buildings, the cathedral and a busy pedestrian mall.  The neighborhood around the plaza was a lot more livelier and traveler-friendly than the one my hostel was in, and so I made a reservation at a different hostel nearby — conveniently across the street from a Chinese food restaurant.

SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF POETIC JUSTICE, I plopped a buck down and bought a bootleg Jackie Chan movie from one of the market stands in the Plaza Perez Velasco (picture above) since a bootleg Jackie Chan restaurant helped me earlier in the day.  After having a caldo de pollo, I planned to just rest up in my room with a couple of movies on my laptop.  However when I got there, I didn’t have the room to myself like I thought I would.  Joel had been replaced by Bill, an Aussie girl from outside of Sydney in her tenth month of traveling around the world, and in the third bed was Chris from the UK, in his third month of traveling.  I chatted with the two as they settled into the room, keeping my laptop away.

Jackie Chan on VCD would have to wait.  Rather than having a martial arts star kick around on my laptop screen, I took some antibiotics that kicked into my body and put me to sleep.

Next entry: Making Peace With La Paz

Previous entry: Saved By A Twelve-Year-Old

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Comments for “Jackie Chan to the Rescue”

  • fIRst again!!!

    great post…as usual.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/07  at  04:57 PM

  • dood. La Paz is starting to sound more like La Spaz.

    feel better dood.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/07  at  05:04 PM

  • glad to hear you’re feeling better. you should find out if they have a china town and get some of the “just add hot water” miso soup. it’s now sweet and sour but in a pinch it might hit the spot! actually, i wonder if every city has a “china town”?!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/07  at  05:25 PM

  • LOVEPENNY:  La Paz gets better when you leave the city center… details in next entry…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/07  at  08:09 PM

  • MICHAEL J. RIVERA:  Does Mrs. San George know about The Blog?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/07  at  08:11 PM

  • MOE:  Yes, that’s right, I said, “Mrs. San George.”

    Howard & Salem Houses RULE!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/07  at  08:12 PM

  • great pics.  looks sort of like old town quito

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/07  at  09:21 PM

  • Did I read this correctly?! There was no Plaza das Armas?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/07  at  09:46 PM

  • yea…no Plaza das Armas?  La Paz es La Pez (nice and stinky)....

    LP you can have first for the next couple of days buddy…I’m NIZ till monday nite…

    tranquilo, tranquilo….

    I hope you got “The Tuxedo” on VCD bootleg….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/07  at  10:08 PM

  • son,make sure to take the cipro for 3 days even f you are feeling better & get some rest. Give your body cells a chance to recuperate, & lots of fluids.
    did you bring the 3-day pack or 4-day?

    take care & God bless….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/07  at  10:33 PM


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/07  at  11:13 PM

  • Jackie Chan to the rescue yet again!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/08  at  03:34 AM

  • Erik, I appreciate the BLOG but take it easy on yourself!  Feel better!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/08  at  12:41 PM

  • the bolivian gov’t buildings look so much nicer than the un buildings. 

    that is a funky burger king i must say

    feel better man

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/08  at  08:07 PM

  • ALL:  I’ve had a looong day involving the Brazilian embassy and the Valley of the Moon…and pumas!  Haven’t had much time to Blog, but stay tuned… Sorry I’m behind!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/08  at  11:12 PM

  • Pumas?!?!? You can’t leave us hanging like that!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/09  at  07:13 PM

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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

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Next entry:
Making Peace With La Paz

Previous entry:
Saved By A Twelve-Year-Old


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