Keep in mind here that neither Chelsea nor I are big fans of cities - they're usually too busy, too noisy, too smelly... we'd both really rather be in a smaller town or out lost in the wilderness. La Paz, Bolivia's bustling administrative capital, is the epitome of all that sucks about cities: streets packed with breaking-down cars and trucks, all constantly weaving around one another, doing their best to decorate their hoods with pedestrian guts while spewing plumes of acrid, black exhaust; sidewalks and plazas crammed with crowds of pushy, loud strangers all pushing their way past the rancid cesspools of garbage and human waste that scatter the streets. I'm sure there are some worthwhile spots hidden within the nightmarish cityscape, though we were so appalled we did our best to stay hidden in our hostel. One of the few times we did venture out in search of a decent meal, we discovered a maggot at the bottom of our (otherwise delicious) compost soup.
Okay, fine, the central market was a great place to stock up on alpaca-wool sweaters in preparation for the coming cold of Patagonia, and the Witches' Market was a perfect spot to shop around for stuffed piranhas and llama fetuses. Alright, I'll admit that there were a couple okay watering holes, some even offering different options (options!) of beer: our aptly-named hostel Adventure Brew even had a decent micro-brewed IPA, the likes of which my lips hadn't touched since leaving Canada.
On the whole, however, La Paz sucks. Unfortunately, however, traveling around Bolivia by bus will almost inevitably leave you stuck there for a night. For us, the only redeeming feature of La Paz was its proximity to "Death Road", the site of numerous fatal vehicle accidents (including a single event in the 80's which took the lives of over one hundred people) and a popular spot for downhill mountain biking.
We ended up going with Barracuda, the sister-company of one of the original (and reputedly safest) companies "Gravity Assisted Biking". With Barracuda, you ride the same section of the road, have the same experienced guides, use the same bikes (they may be a touch older but are in excellent condition), and pay 40% less to do it. This was a no-brainer for us.
Okay, we've got Death Road checked off the list, time to get the hell out of La Paz.
La Paz: you suck! The rest of you: keep bein' chili.