The first impression upon seeing La Paz from El Alto is strange. The capital of Bolivia is embedded in a narrow valley. Officially it is situated at an altitude of 3650 meters, but it stretches from 3000 to 4000 meters. What surprised me were the houses in this city of 800,000 inhabitants. They are almost all built in red brick without facades; this city definitely lacks color. But there's a reason to this: as long as the houses have no facade, they are considered unfinished and the homeowners are taxed at a much lower rate.

A fun fact: Because of the altitude, water boils here at 80 degrees.

When I filled up my  tank I hgot a unpleasant surprise: while the official price per liter is displayed at 3.8 boliviano, I got charged 9 boliviano per liter, just because I have foreign number plates. Strange socialism, mister Morales!

Yesterday I went down the Ruta de la muerte on a mountain bike.

But yesterday I also met Maurizio and Alejandra, an out of the ordinary young Bolivian couple. He is a shaman and she is a witch. While Maurizio, with his 10 years of experience still considers himself a beginner shaman, Alejandra, whose the mother and grandmother already were witches, is much more advanced in the occult sciences. Shealso has knowledge of black magic, the missing link in my search of the spiritualism of the Andean people. We discussed at length yesterday, and finally they agreed to take me today in the closed world of black magic, not without giving me long warnings of the risks I was running.

"Evil exists, believe me, I saw it"
"Shamans do not want your money, you must pay with your energy"
"You run the risk of awakening spirits that you might not be able to control"

Maurizio and Alejandra take run a small store where they sell  natural products,; today they  closed their shop for the occasion. In La Paz is a street of witches, tje calle de las brujas. Here one can buy all sort of weird stuff, but this is not the place where they took me; this street is for tourists. We will go there, where the world of the humans and the world of darkness meet. Maurizio did not feel strong enough to come alone with me the world of evil, and he insisted that Alejandra, who speaks the language of the shamans, Aymara, accompanies him.

Now we are  in a sort of unpaved street. No cars circulate here. On each side there are some sort of stores, windowless, with only a blue door. Most of them are closed. Some kind of wood stoves are placed in the street in front of some doors, indefinable things  burning in some of them. Maurizio is uncomfortable. "Can you feel the evil forces that are all around here? "he wonders  several times. There are very few people here, we are almost alone. Needless to say I'm the only foreigner around.

Now it is Alejandra’s job to find the right shaman for what I want. Slowly she paces the street, letting the waves of various shamans react on her. Silent, Maurizio and I follow her a few meters behind. After a second round she stops, discusses with a shaman. Then she calls us. The shaman will read me a black mass, followed by a white mass. After one last attempt to dissuade me from entering, the three of us enter the place. The room is very small; I guess it must measure not more than two square meters.

After a short introduction, the shaman leaves us to buy the ingredients for the session, closes the door, and one of the most mind-blowing moments of my life begins.

I will not tell you more than this, sorry.