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Route 36: A Bolivian Cocaine Lounge

Sometimes when I know I won’t have internet access for a while I write down brief notes on a scrap of paper. 5 months after returning home from my last trip to South America I just pulled out one of these papers to remember what I was thinking at the time.

“La Paz cocaine gay guy house”

That is one line I wrote down. The Guardian actually an interesting article

about a cocaine bar in La Paz that I visited. After drinking at the hostel bar in La Paz I found myself in a taxi with 4 other European backpackers. I thought it was kind of strange how we entered the cab and nobody said a word to the driver, even after he began driving.

We soon arrived in a suburb outside of a house. A normal looking house. When we entered we were greeted by a flamboyant gay man who owned the clandestine cocaine lounge. He led us through the house until we reached a somewhat hidden and discrete room with a full-fledged bar and sofas.

The other travelers knew the deal, as this was their second or third time. Minutes later each of the travelers snorted the white powder and we left.

The guardian describes it as,

“Down in Route 36’s main room, the scene is chilled. A half-hearted disco ball sporadically bathes the room in red and green light. Each table has candles and a stash of bottled water, plus whatever mixers one cares to add to your drink. In the corner, a pile of board games includes chess, backgammon, and Jenga, the game in which a steady hand pulls out bricks from a tower of blocks until the whole pile collapses. If it weren’t for the heads bobbing down like birds scouring the seashore for food, you would never know that huge amounts of cocaine were being casually ingested. There’s a lot of mingling from table to table. Everyone here has stories – the latest adventures from Ecuador, the best bus to Peru – and even the most wired “why-won’t-he-shut-up?” traveller is given a generous welcome before being sent back to his table, where he can repeat those stories another 10 times.”

While I did not try any, it was a unique experience but underwhelming experience.

Jason Bartoli
Jason Bartoli

"Jason is the best person you'll ever meet here. He's just a ray of sunshine. An adventurer, businessman, and has a 4.9 Uber rating. Lovely person inside and out. I say, go message him" - My Mom

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