Un, Dos Tres, Concrete!
Photos and article by Alex Irvine
4 days to get from Peru to La Paz. A 3-day waste of time whilst the bus got fixed (things break down pretty regular in this part of the world). Prescription drug use for long journeys due to not being able to drink on board = memory gap. Lots of bright colours, weird food and lines for immigration; fun times.
Working at nearly 2 ½ miles above sea level fucks you up. Man, walking around at 2 ½ above sea level fucks you up. Chew cocoa leaves if you like having a mouthful of vegetation, or pass out / go blind in one eye/collapse if you prefer. Good luck getting the breath to actually go skate.
Cocaine’s a hell of a drug… And harder to get in Bolivia than you’d imagine. Some people found it, obviously, but in general it went towards 24-hour-straight building missions instead of hanging out in toilets talking about how great we all are and stuff. There was a bar that served gack to your table apparently, but who had the time to find that place. We’re fucking busy here.
Paceña beer was the local bevvy of choice. Cheap from the local stores but thanks to the Catholic uptightness had to be disguised in other vessels for the duration of the build. If you were out at night you could end up getting kicked out of Oliver’s Bar quicker by guzzling Bock which comes in tough at 7% but tastes like ass.
Anything goes here. Flag one down and try not to get too ripped off is the only thing to worry about. Cram as many people as you like in and with a smile and a Spanish vocabulary of 10 words you should be set. Every taxi in La Paz was kitted out with its own array of crap covering the dash and senseless writing on all the windows. Pick your mate up on the way down / up the hill no worries.
The Hill Bombs:
This place is full of downhills. Full. But you might find it hard to dodge the speed wobbles after a 12 hour shift and a few lagers in you. Fuck it. Loads of pot holes and sketchy shit to watch out for on the way down but so much fun. The thing to scream when someone ditches out halfway down: “See you at Olivers!”
Pura Pura is a nature reserve up a hill not far from the centre of La Paz and it’s the spot the German guys picked to make the park happen. From the site you had an awesome view of Huayna Potosí a snow capped peak that looked insanely picturesque as the sun set. The Germans couldn’t have picked a better place to live, work and play for our month there. IF nature wasn’t your thing there were also these bad-ass concrete slides to fuck around on.
Considering most of the people on this build were of voting age they seemed to have problems getting their turds in the pan. Funny, until you’re the 99th person trying to have your morning dump. Some people even manufactured their own seats to avoid getting cooties from the mountains of diarrhea. Real bunch of rugged-DIY-toughguy builder types that have to hover above the porcelain incase their bum bum get’s poo poo splash back.
Considering there were over a hundred people living on site you’d be forgiven for thinking there was only around 30 when it came to the graveyard shift or an early morning start. Something like 11 different nationalities were involved, that has to be some sort of record! Everyone got a badly spelled certificate at the end to prove how selfless we all were. Truly odd.
The site was run by a pack of feral dogs as soon as the sun would set. They howled en masse all night meaning earplugs were a necessity. They would also single you out and stalk you on your way home or when you crept out the hut for a 3 am piss. Fucking freaky.
All cooking was done on site for us. Three square meals a day. But when you rolled in late from Oliver’s there was always a crew of pissed up cunts ruining the pans by trying to cook eggs themselves. If you got your timing right you could be in line for a few slices of freshly baked banana cake before stumbling up the hill.
The End Result:
The park is sick. Well most of us left before we got to see it all completed which was a little disheartening, but what was there was rad. The floor is a bit ghetto in places and, in contrast, some of the ramps are professional enough to be seen on a actual official skatepark build – this kind of sums up the entire build: somewhere between a skatepark and doing a DIY job.
The whole process was a team effort and everyone killed it completing it (to a degree) in the allotted month of building.
It couldn’t have been made possible without the hard working crew of Germans who got us all together: Yamato, Endboss, 2er & Make Life Skate Life… and I guess Levi’s for giving them enough money to make it happen. But everyone who raised a shovel should be proud of what was achieved.
All photos by Alex Irvine
Condensed Flesh: La Paz Builders Jam by Noid Films