La Paz: Route 36 Cocaine Bar
La Paz: Route 36 Cocaine Bar.
I hit the free city walking tour of La Paz and it was awesome.
– We started in front of minimum security San Pedro Prison, most famous for its place in the book ‘Marching Powder.’ There are only 15 guards at a time for 2,500 inmates, and the guards do not even enter the prison. The prison is totally policed by the inmates who establish rules and a hierarchy. All inmates pay rent, the bottom end being B$30/month. But if you are rich and can afford B$3000-5000/month, you can live in luxury with a Jacuzzi and a sauna. There are families living in the prison and as many as 250 children who are growing up in there and leave the premises every morning to go to school. 25% of the inmates are corrupt politicians and the other 75% of the people in the San Pedro Prison are there for drug related charges; 85% of them still awaiting a trial which can take as many as four or five years to start, and those years will not count as part of time served. There are times when a guard will take an inmate to a club for the evening. Inmates administer punishment based on how much an inmate’s actions will effect other’s abilities to live life as normal inside of the facility. It is quite a system…
– Rodriguez Mercado that takes up 12 blocks is so good that there are not so many supermarkets in La Paz. The locals like the interaction with the lady vendors. Our guide told us that his grandmother buys cheese from the same woman that she started buying cheese from when they were both very young ladies. Now he buys cheese from his grandmother’s cheese lady. Loyalty is important in the markets.
– Cholitas, the old ladies dressed in traditional clothes and bowler hats, are most sexy when they have big hips, which means more child bearing abilities. They often have five or six children. The sexiest part of a cholita is her calf muscle. That is where sex appeal comes from for the men. The calf muscle must be big and strong.
– McDonald’s went bankrupt in Bolivia. It is the only place in the world where McDonald’s did not work.
– Shoe shiners wear balaclavas in La Paz. They are everywhere. It is to hide their identities because it is the lowest job in Bolivia. Many are school children who do not want anyone to know who they are.
– The owner of La Paz Route 36 Cocaine Bar is the Police General of La Paz. That is why such a place is able to exist in La Paz. That is the definition of corruption.
I met up with my friend at the hostel and we went for a walk to find some dinner. On the way at 6:30pm, I found a party. So, we entered the gates to where it was taking place. It was some kind of work party, and there was a DJ playing traditional music and people were incredibly drunk. We were the only gringos around. A couple in their 40’s befriended us right away and started giving us glasses of beer. Another lady came along and made us drink cap fulls of Johnny Walker. Our lady friend took me to dance with her where people could hardly stand but were dancing and stumbling well. I seen a lady fall down drunk and lay on the cement to pass out until people came and put her back in a chair. Then a moment later I seen a man passed out in a chair who was spitting on himself in his alcohol induced sleep. I could not believe how drunk everyone was at 6:30pm. At 7pm the music and power was cut and the party ended just as we were warming up.
Hostel. Shower. Shitty bar with a good DJ and a shitty band with a guitar player who played a Randy Rhoads polka-dot guitar to pussy songs. Lousy club where my friend and I ordered drinks on the rocks for eachother, including shots of Licor de Coca which was made of cocoa leaves and tasted just so. Outside for a taxi, but it took at least six taxis for one to know where La Paz Route 36 Cocaine Bar was. We drove to a past of La Paz, and pulled up in front of a closed building with a locked metal door. It looked like any other business in La Paz that had their steel pull down door locked for the night. As we pulled up the cabbie honked his horn as someone and they came to the window of the car and asked us “Route?” “Si.” We paid the cabbie and the man leading us unlocked the steel door and rolled it up so that we could enter La Paz Route 36 Cocaine Bar. The door was closed behind us and locked again as we walked up some stairs. On the climb, I could hear voices and music. “30 Bolivianos.” We paid and we were handed tickets that said nothing on them except for a random collection of numbers. We entered what appeared to be a bar and we were told that we would receive a free drink. “Two mojitos.” The man who took our drink orders on the walk started telling us about cocaine. “B$150 for a gram, and if you buy three grams you will get a forth for free.” We did not know how much we needed so we decided to get a gram at a time. The room of La Paz Route 36 Cocaine Bar was full of gringos sitting around tables.
It was the worst mojito I have ever had. A glass with rum, sugar, soda water, and a chunk of mint floating on the top. We found a small two seater and waited for our waiter to return. Now, I have never really liked cocaine. I tried it once about 13 years ago, and I have not really gone near since. I have seen it use a lot of money of people I know, and I have never thought it was a cool drug at all. But, this was going to be an experience so I was in. Our waiter delivered a small piece of folded paper on top of a plastic drinks menu. I opened the paper and inside was a gram of coke. Well, here we go. I dumped half of the gram onto the menu and chopped it into four lines with a bank card. We rolled up a B$100 note. After a few minutes, my friend did not really feel anything from it and I had a strange small buzz. So, we did the rest of the gram. It was about 3am. We took illegal pictures of the situation in La Paz Route 36 Cocaine Bar until we got told off for doing so.
At around 3:25am, I was grinding my teeth and clenching my jaw. I remembered that feeling. A blacklight provided the lighting in the room and there was coke all over the floor of the room. Everywhere you looked, you could see speckles of white powder in La Paz Route 36 Cocaine Bar. If you were poor or desperate you could be on your knees in the room and fulfill your thrills. At 4:05 we ordered a 2nd gram. I was on long winded monologues to my friend which I have been on the other end of so many times in my life, wondering ‘When is this guy going to shut up?’ It is funny how your brain can get caught up in things. The room was still full of gringos drinking bottles of water with their faces over CD covers or plastic menus. At 6am, we ordered a 3rd gram. My friend seemed to be getting nothing from our little endeavour, so we did the 3rd gram in its entirety immediately. Luckily, she had brought a lot of gum with her that encouraged chewing and less grinding. There were only four gringos at that time. The insecure DJ asked us if we were happy with the music, which was nothing I would ever listen to in my life, but I showed him that I was tapping my feet involuntarily. At 7am they kicked us out of La Paz Route 36 Cocaine Bar and we taxied back to the hostel.
I was so thirsty that I could not get enough water. I was also struggling to swallow comfortably and I had a stomach ache. I felt very strange. I heard it before from people I know, but I then found out that cocaine and sex do not mix together at all…. My friend said, “Can’t sleep. Can’t fuck.” My favourite unfortunate quote of the day…
Marching powder is a stupid drug…