From there, we decided to head to La Paz while the rest of the group continued to Sucre – we only had a week before the start of the Inca Trail. In La Paz, we met up with Max again and visited the ruins of Tiwanaku together (a very impressive pre-Inca civilisation which at some point had a very large sphere of influence in the area).
Our tour guide was really helpful and explained some features of life in Bolivia to us – for example, why there are so many unfinished houses. Basically, a family will build as much as they can afford at a certain time, but with a long term vision for the house. Usually, the ground floor is finished and rented out as soon as possible because the view is that every house should “work”. The second floor might be rented out to a restaurant or other business once finished, the third may be turned into flats and finally the fourth will be for the family. People decorate finished houses in all sorts of individual ways (will find a picture on the camera – haven’t uploaded that part yet).
He also said that instead of renting out a flat, people often do the following: As a tenant, I pay my landlord say 10000$. For that, I have the right to live in their flat for the next two years or so, during which they “work” with the money – invest, finish their house, etc. After the agreed time frame, the money gets paid back in full. I thought that was a pretty smart idea. Interest-free loans for one, rent-free living for the other (though obviously you need to have that sort of money first…).