|Llama fetuses outside a shop in the Witches Market|
As I glanced through my Lonely Planet guidebook to Bolivia, I scanned the sights for something that looked interesting until I came to the following: El Mercado de Las Brujas…the La Paz Witches’ Market. Out of all the sights in the world’s highest capital city, the Witches Market instantly soared to number one on our list.
We walked down the main thoroughfare and followed our map, which was unclear and not helped by the location description in the text. After a few false alarms, we found Calle Jiminez and Calle Linares and knew we were in the right place when we saw lots of dried llama fetuses handing from shop windows.
We stopped at one shop and a middle-aged woman looked at us as if sizing us up. I wasn’t sure if she was gauging our interest in buying or surreptitiously seeking signs of good or bad fortune. She sat behind a table that displayed toad talismans, coco leaves, amulets, soaps, many different types of plants, owl feathers, totems, candles and dried snakes. I wondered if her business from people who felt they really needed her products were now outweighed by people like me, who just want a souvenir to show someone back home.
Inside the store, was a colorful collection of boxes that addressed many illnesses and health problems. Usually looking at the cover of the box told you what it was for: a vigorous soccer player suggested more energy, a sultry woman advertised erectile enhancement, a picture of two kidneys targeted renal help and a full head of black hair unmistakably offered a solution to baldness.
|The cure for what ails you|