Oh La Paz. What a mess

Oh La Paz. What a mess. Gridlock’d streets. Screaming horns. Belching exhausts. Evil taxi drivers. Fake police officers. Pickpockets. Thieves. Beggars. A city of a million scam artists. All gainfully employed.

La Paz. What a mess.

La Paz. Climbing around your hills. Homes clinging on the edges. Perched high in the clouds. Like the seat of some god. Homes on the rim have a different climate to those at the bottom. 500 metres of height separates them. At the rim I can’t breathe. Near the bottom I feel fine. Amazing – a city of micro-climates.

La Paz. From the high rim you look like an infection. A sore. A blight on the landscape. A cancer spreading. From the bottom to the rims. A cancer of mankind. A cancer of people. A concentration of greed. Fulcrum of all that is not good. Of rubbish heaps. Full of dogs. Our greatest achievement.

La Paz. What a mess. Unsympathetic. Unapologetic. Uncaring. Morose. Brooding. Insidious. Grasping. Importuning. Loud. Primordial in your simplicity. Primitive in your wants. Medieval in your commerce. There’s no pretending here. No masks.

La Paz. In the central square. I can remain hidden. If I don’t open my mouth. Others less fortunate. I see the eyes of the vultures. On those visitors. The vultures circle over me. But don’t dive. I am fortunate. For I find the city washes over me. The muck and the dirt and life – washes over me. The perfect observer. The perfect traveler. Not interacting and not being interacted with. For interaction interferes and you no longer just observe what is out there. Just ask Heisenberg.

La Paz. How can it be? This city you can see from head to tail. From leg to leg and ear to ear. At night I am a blind mouse in a maze. The toothless witches on street corners cackle at me. Prostitutes don’t beg me for sex. Pickpockets pass me by without blinking. The tour operators and the kitsch sellers – see right through me. I am invisible!

Invisible! A silken scarf. A transparent waif. A gust of wind. I am invisible! To wonder and wander. Through this city of desperate people. Lost in their own world of survival. And me. Lost in my thoughts – and in my world – of invisible ghosts.

Oh La Paz. From the high rim I watch your lights dim. And I watch you wake up. I see you in the heady noon. And I hear you in the quiet moon. From the high rim I hear your voice. I hear what you sound like: hum of traffic, barking dogs, occasional gun-shots (or misfiring exhausts) – and the wind and the thunder, from the mountains. I see  the clouds as they darken over you. I see the sun smiling on you. I see the blue sky reflecting you.

Oh La Paz. I am a convalescent. Still recovering. Full of drugs through whose small aperture – through that film of drug haze clarity – I see farther then anyone here. Am I the only one of these 6 million ants that thinks these things? Or are there others like me?

– Convalescents. Convalescing from life.

Oh La Paz. What a mess. You are all cities in one. Having seen you, there is nothing left unseen. Having lived in you. There is no life else to live. Having tasted you. There is nothing in life left to taste. Are you the future? For if you are – there are no surprises.

Left for me.

Oh La Paz. Oh life. Oh world. What a mess. You are.

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