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The original world nomad "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance." - Confucius.

La Paz

BOLIVIA | Thursday, 7 January 1999 | Views [1209]

Spewing clouds of black diesel into the thin crisp air, the orange train lumbered and creaked through cloud-fringed mountains. We rolled past fluffy Alpacas looking so cute and innocent before they are shorn, tended by wild sunburnt mountain people with bright round faces, colourful clothing and hats - always hats.

Muddy, pot-holed streets surrounded by sad, grey, ubiquitous concrete and brick dwellings. Then the world drops away and your first view of La Paz takes away what remains of your breath at this altitude. Those same concrete and brick box houses swell up from the floor of a canyon far, far below and wash up the sides, almost to the rim.

We wander map-less and breathless, always heading up, choosing streets at random. Higher and higher. We stumble on what has to be the highest Soccer game in the world. A pitch has been hewn into the side of the canyon, a feat nearly as incredible as running around for 90 minutes at this altitude. They played with three balls, so that when one left the field and went bouncing down the steep narrow cobbled streets, another was immediately thrown into play while some poor unfortunate had the unenviable task of chasing after the lost ball.

Remarkable.

Tags: altitude, children, football, la paz, people, soccer

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