La Paz, Bolivia is situated at 13,313 feet above sea level. In other words: 2.52 miles.
During our week-long Workaway stay in the region, Karen, our charming British flatmate, shed humorous insight into life at drastic heights above sea level, and the collective tally of random quirks grew as the days went by. What follows is our incredibly precise and highly scientific collection of odd happenings at lofty altitudes:
1 ) There’s less air to breathe. Much, much less air.
2) Laptop battery chargers last only a year and computer hard drives mysteriously “burn up.”
3 ) Increased chocolate cravings attack with fury. (Well, all sweet cravings attack, really.)
4 ) Supremely aggravating levels of fatigue result from ordinary work.
5 ) Lowland natives experience higher frequency of illness (yes, beyond classic altitude-sickness).
6 ) Rats can’t survive – i.e., expose them to high altitudes and they die. (Why scientists are, according to Karen, currently working to breed an altitude-hardy strain of rats is beyond me…)
And…such a depressing one:
7 ) Proper cakes won’t bake…
I’d like to say that we did semi-conquer that last hurdle: I picked up a boxed mix (gasp!*) at the grocery store and baked a delicious chocolate dessert just as an excuse to spend a cool, rainy night puttering in the kitchen and eating sweets next to the clay wood stove. (*to my credit, the frosting was from semi-scratch…a melted Bolivian chocolate bar swimming in butter and sugar!)
Do any of you other high-altitude-dwellers have contributions from first-hand experience? (Heather W.??) We’re so spoiled at home, we almost-sea-level-dwelling-Oregonians…