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Dried Lama Fetus & Witchcraft

BOLIVIA | Monday, 3 December 2007 | Views [3122]

La Paz is like one huge outdoor market. Locals are selling everything imaginable.  We met up today with our friends Valerie and Bas, who are transiting through La Paz and heading south on a trip through the Salar de Uyuni with us.  On the top of our list of things to check out in La Paz is the Mercado de Hechicería or "Witches Market."  Darrin has been waiting to check out the piles of dried llama fetuses, as he had seen them in Copacabana, but they disappeared faster than he could snap a picture of them.  Sure enough, he got his fill.  In the narrow streets of the witches market, llama fetuses are displayed, prominently, shelffuls high, and some even decorated in "gift baskets," surrounded by fake money and other good luck charms.  These nasty looking things are bought up by the locals who use them to protect their homes from evil spirits.  The ladies selling them tell us that they are burned in home ceremonies not just for protection, but to bring luck to the family.  Entering into the depths of some shops, we find other special potions and dusts, some used for good luck, and sexual potency and fertility.  The sex dust is stacked right alongside statues of Jesus and the Virgin.  There are also stuffed and decorated armadillos and wild cats that are also supposed to be icons for good luck.  We have our fill of interesting witch craft and products and make our way deeper in o the local area where we find streets dedicated to mechanical gadgets; women are sitting among all the hardware, selling to their male clientele... and just across the road, there are men selling the big puffy women's skirts in fabric shops to female clientele - go figure this division of labor!  An odd combination indeed.  We weave our way back through the fruit and veggie market before collapsing from sheer exhaustion from having walked so far with so little oxygen content in the air.

Tags: Markets

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