November 23, 2005
I wanted to do some sightseeing today, so I got a map of the city from the front desk at my hotel. For the first time since getting here two days ago, I found out that I was in the southeastern corner of the city. The first place I went was the Plaza 10 de Febrero, the plaza at the center of the city. Full of trees and aligned with park benches, it was a peaceful place to hang out for awhile.
I spotted an Internet cafe just outside of the plaza, so I figured I'd check my email and maybe stay for half an hour or so. When I saw that the computers had Windows Millennium (probably the worst operating system ever invented), I figured I'd be out of there in ten minutes. However, I quickly changed my mind when I saw how fast the connection was. In record time, I had installed all of my necessary software and was uploading photos three times faster than on the Windows XP machine next to my hotel. Maybe I'll have to rethink the whole Windows Millennium sucking thing. I ended up staying for over three hours and got all of my pictures uploaded.
The only other things on my map that looked worth seeing were the museum of anthropology and the zoo, which were located right next to each other, although they were on the other side of town. I thought about taking a taxi, but I figured I could use the exercise and started walking. According to the map, I could walk almost straight there from where I was, but part of the map was removed so they could print the title. Still, I was on a street called â€œLa Plata," and that street was listed on the other side of the gap, so I started walking down it.
After a few blocks, the street started to slant uphill. The further I walked, the steeper it got. Soon, I was at the top of the city. The problem was that the street appeared to end at the top of the hill and I had no idea if I had walked too far because none of the cross streets had signs listing their names. Sometimes it's almost impossible to know what street you're on here.
Out of options, I walked back down the hill to a street on the map that didn't get cut off. Soon I realized that the museum was on the other side of the hill, so I had to walk around it. From now on, I'll have to remember that if a city map in South America has an area that is cut out to make room for the title, that part of the map is a huge hill that I should avoid.
Eventually, I made my way to the museum. I could definitely tell that this was not a tourist town when they charged me three boliviano's (32 cents) to enter, the same price they charged the locals. If this had been La Paz, I probably would've had to have paid 80. The museum was pretty small, but it and had a bunch of ancient artifacts and textiles from the area. Maybe I've gone to too many similar museums, because I didn't really enjoy myself there.
The zoo was only a block away from the museum. It was much smaller than the zoos back home, but it only cost 25 cents to get in, so it was worth checking out. The best animal on display was the panther, but they also had lots of birds, monkeys, and cats. I even finally got to see what an Andean condor looks like! Well, kind of. About half the zoo was closed off, so I imagine it will be much bigger in the future. At least the guys doing arc welding on the ground right next to me as I walked passed them seemed to think so.
Still feeling somewhat restless, I made the long walk all the way across the city back to my hotel. I spent most of the night working on my blog. Now that I've seen what Oruro has to offer, I'm definitely ready to leave town.
The photo album for this entry is here.