Juliaca: the ugliest place on Earth (tribute)

road to the clouds across the hills and the forest

That’s what people in Peru says about my city. That it’s the ugliest city in Peru and a stinky hole. I couldn’t say if that’s true because I don’t know every city in Peru. Also is true that I respect the freedom of speech and if some people says that I’m not going to be violent, just I would ask for reasons for that affirmation and I’ll give my reasons what I think that couldn’t be totally true.

I love my city in the Andean Plateau with the stars so close as you can only see at 3,825 metres or 12,549 ft above the sea level; the sacred hills with our Apus with thousands of years of uninterrupted veneration; the clouds so close that you can see ephemeral landscapes in its shapes with the naked eye; the meadows with the blue and yellow flowers exploding in summer; the snow in winter and the hidden rocks and sources of water under their roots.

Of course I dislike the violence of the society, usually from newcomers from the near countryside or criminals from the capital in the coast; and the lack of urban beauty that I guess it’s due to the lack of education and the uses from people that before were in the open fields and don’t understand that to live in the city requires another mind. But also is truth that there is a certain racism from the westerner coast that would like that we were just peasants giving tribute to them so the city is like an offense to their ideas of superiority. I think in the coast as a place freeze in 1920, lol.

In the end I accept that Juliaca is ugly but comparing with the other cities I know I wouldn’t say it’s the ugliest. And it has places that I love. The hills in the photograph are at five minutes walking from my own home with the old forest and the hills now, sadly, with projects of urban development that, I’m sure, aren’t going to be in harmony with the surroundings.

La Paz, let’s play a melody for the night

let's play a melody for the night

Let’s play a melody for the night

I went some hours to La Paz, into the heart of Bolivia. I decided to be in a cheap hotel to walk a bit the city because usually I just go for a pair of hours. It was the summer of 2014, exactly in January so the heat was a bit strong, although people in the streets as the performer in the photograph was quite covered so I guess he was a foreigner, Chilean perhaps.

The photographs include views from dusk to night and a bit from the morning. I hope you find some akin to your spirit.

Modernity

Towards the south is the more contemporary architecture of La Paz. There are several Bolivians of German ancestors that enriched the culture in that place with buildings of peculiar shapes. In a certain way they are like the old Bolivians (common ancestors with us Peruvians, in fact I’m half Bolivian) in the respect to the nature and the harmony of buildings integrated to the natural environment.

flame in the sky

big city and vast nature

illimani's time to rest

Illimani’s time to rest

flame in the sky

flame in the sky

concrete twilight

concrete twilight

Old downtown

The old colonial downtown was under moonlight, giving the stones part of that sense of old time. I saw a lot of people waiting for public transport. I took some photographs with care to not seen because certainly I don’t look as a tourist.

I think the city looks better in comparison to my visits as a child.

moonstone

Moonstone

colors at night

colors at night

sad yellow lights

sad yellow lights

day of service

day of service

ha

ha!

one for white cars and the other for colored cars

One for white cars and the other for colored cars

carnival of lights

carnival of lights

A good bye in the morning

Next day I had to be in Tiwanaku, so I just walked a few hours in the early morning and said good bye to the city.

compression

compression

red car goes to the yellow house and yellow bus to the red house

Red car goes to the yellow house and yellow bus to the red house

picturesque morning

Picturesque morning

And that was all. I saw a parade or protest, something usual when I was a kid but that surprised me this time. Me and my generation generally are apolitical due to the vast amount of people that used to search power with (bad) politics instead of real work. Actually there were so many protests years ago in La Paz that you can see that people is indifferent to them now. As a foreigner I didn’t approximate to them to investigate the reason of the parade or protest (haha, they could think I’m a Peruvian James Bond spying) so I took my backpack and went once more to the highway asphalt.

invisible revolution

Invisible revolution

***

Notes:

In “Illimani’s time to rest” the big building is Alto Obrajes’s Olympic size swimming pool designed by Arch. Ricardo Pérez Alcalá.

In “Concrete twilight” the building is the Hotel Radisson Plaza La Paz designed by Argentinian atelier SEPRA.

The partial view of the bridge in “ha!” corresponds to Pasarela Pérez Velasco designed by Arch. Diego Marquez Burgos and Arch. José Marquez Pereira

In “Red car goes to the yellow house and yellow bus to the red house” the church is La Recoleta designed by Arch. Eulalio Morales.

Mythological horse race at twilight

mythological horse race at twilight

See! shapes in the light…

In the boundaries of dream and night an electric cave painting made before the time of the first horse riders.

Free spirits made of light; flying, running, shinning a millisecond before you wake up.

A time of primitive gods yelling with thunders.

A time of horses.