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    South by South America Tour – Bolivia Part 19

    Saturday, October 5, 2019
    La Paz, Bolivia

    A color-striped neighborhood high up on a hill in La Paz, Bolivia.
    A color-striped neighborhood high up on a hill in La Paz, Bolivia.

    A cabin on the Mi Teleferico aerial cable car system transits over La Paz, Bolivia.
    A cabin on the Mi Teleferico aerial cable car system transits over La Paz, Bolivia.

    “Mi Teleférico is an aerial cable car urban transit system serving the La Paz–El Alto metropolitan area in Bolivia. As of September 2018, the system consists of 25 stations along eight lines: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Orange, White, Sky Blue, and Purple. Another three lines are in planning or construction: Brown, Silver, and Gold. Upon the completion of the 6.2 mile Phase One (Red, Yellow, and Green Lines) in 2014, the system was considered to be the longest aerial cable car system in the world.

    A cabin on the Mi Teleferico aerial cable car system transits over El Alto, Bolivia.
    A cabin on the Mi Teleferico aerial cable car system transits over El Alto, Bolivia.

    A cabin on the Mi Teleferico aerial cable car system descends from El Alto to La Paz, Bolivia.
    A cabin on the Mi Teleferico aerial cable car system descends from El Alto to La Paz, Bolivia.

    “Based on its master plan, the completed system, which is being built by the Doppelmayr Garaventa Group, is intended to reach a length of 21.0 miles with 11 lines and 30 stations. While other urban transit cable cars like Medellín’s Metrocable complement existing rapid transit systems, Mi Teleférico is the first system to use cable cars as the backbone of the urban transit network. In 2018, Mi Teleférico won a Latam Smart City Award in the category of ‘Sustainable urban development and mobility.’

    A skateboarder tackles a makeshift bench at Plaza Avaroa in La Paz, Bolivia.
    A skateboarder tackles a makeshift bench at Plaza Avaroa in La Paz, Bolivia.

    A chrome dome in La Paz, Bolivia.
    A chrome dome in La Paz, Bolivia.

    “Mi Teleférico was planned in order to address a number of problems in La Paz, including a precarious public transit system that could not cope with growing user demands, the high cost in time and money of traveling between La Paz and El Alto, chaotic traffic with its subsequent environmental and noise pollution, and a growing demand for gasoline and diesel fuel, which are subsidized by the state. The Red, Yellow, and Purple lines connect the neighboring cities of La Paz and El Alto, which are separated by a steep slope about 1,300 feet tall, and which were previously only connected by winding, congested roads.”-Wikipedia

    A composition with bridge and light poles in La Paz, Bolivia.
    A composition with bridge and light poles in La Paz, Bolivia.

    A Victorian house and a wall mural in La Paz, Bolivia.
    A Victorian house and a wall mural in La Paz, Bolivia.

    My plan for today was to head south to explore the Sopocachi neighborhood. Instead of taking a direct route via bus or taxi, I opted to to circle the entire La Paz region using the amazing Mi Teleferico aerial cable car system. Leaving the valley that La Paz sits in and risiing up a very steep incline to the city of El Alto on the Altiplano at the top is an exhilarating experience. I was surprised to see that the Mi Teleferico system rose so high and covered the entire region.

    Pole position with a statue in La Paz, Bolivia.
    Pole position with a statue in La Paz, Bolivia.

    Several high-rise buildings enjoy a group hug in La Paz, Bolivia.
    Several high-rise buildings enjoy a group hug in La Paz, Bolivia.

    After changing Mi Teleferico lines several times and proceeding back down into Sopocachi, I exited the station and walked a few blocks down a steep hill to Plaza Avaroa, where I watched a clan of skateboarders session a makeshift bench. The whole Sopocachi area seems a bit more calm and wealthy than central La Paz. After I got my fill of the skate session, I spent the next couple of hours making my way north on—and sometimes parallel to—El Prado, the central nerve of La Paz. I was mainly on a photo mission, shooting any interesting buildings, poles, walls and street scenes that I crossed paths with. I finally ended up back in central La Paz around sunset, where I engaged in the usual hunt for food.

    Pole position with five orbs in La Paz, Bolivia.
    Pole position with five orbs in La Paz, Bolivia.

    The spine of a triangular building in La Paz, Bolivia.
    The spine of a triangular building in La Paz, Bolivia.

    Words and photos ©2019 Arcane Candy.

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