La Paz is not pretentious; it’s a city a little like Oakland in California with a waterfront that is not unlike South Beach in Miami. People are friendly and even though I try to speak with very limited Spanish, I’m finding that people are more willing to practice their English. The result is a twice broken conversation with a lot of smiling and head nodding. Other than in the marinas very few gringos are walking around, but I remember that about La Paz from when I was here twenty years ago. Very little is what you expect, which is what makes it interesting. The pet store is also the place to shop for bulk spices, from our slip in the marina (a mile and half from town) we can hear thumping music from the dance clubs and the traffic is just crazy. Pedestrians are more like target practice. Cars reach top speed between stop signs and stand on end stopping, if they bother. Lights are a suggestion. Guys dance in traffic for tips. More than once I found I can still run very fast since buses apparently don’t have any brakes. Art in Mexico is exceptional and I could learn a lot about painting as the work in galleries is better than anything I’ve seen, pretty much anywhere. This coming weekend La Paz is hosting an art festival with guest artists from Australia, including a group of fire dancers. Whimsical sculptures line the Malecon and grace the courtyards around town.