Souvenirs: There are gaucho dolls, gaucho knives (they have embossed silver handles and make good steak knives), gaucho hats in black felt for men.
The Crillon Hotel in La Paz ($9 double, European plan) has friendly but slow service. There is only one restaurant worth leaving the hotel for: a large brasserie-type place called the Daiquiri (avoid the drink of the same name). Draft beer (called chopp all over South America) is cheap (20�) and good, and so is imported Scotch (60�). Food is not Bolivia's strong point. but the Daiquiri, where dinner costs $5 for two, can provide delicious trout and an adequate parillada (mixed grill). The avocado pears and the pineapples (paltas and pi�as) are at their best in November. La Paz has an extremely dark bar, the Carrousel, where one can dance to records and drink from phosphorescent glasses.
Sports: The skiing season is from September through June. The Club Andino Boliviano of La Paz rides up to Chacaltaya every Sunday in buses. Guests are welcome for a small charge ($4), and lunch is provided in the ski lodge. Just bending down to fasten one's skis makes one dizzy (the ski lift reaches 18,300 feet). It is impossible to rent equipment, so bring your own. The train ride to Lake Titicaca for salmon and trout fishing is one of the world's most spectacular journeys. Lake Titicaca is a rich source of early Inca relics, and it is possible to skin-dive for artifacts. However, the lake is two miles above sea level, and diving into it is rather like diving into a freezer. There is an overnight boat trip from Guaqui in a 66-passenger British ship (circa 1900) to Puno in Peru ($15). There the train trip to Cuzco, at about 11,000 feet, is a breathtaking day's experience, even literally—not for the faint of heart.
Shopping: Silver is an excellent buy: the craftsmanship is not as fine as in Peru, but it is much cheaper. The Joyer�a Sucre is a good source. The Peleteria Santiago is the best place for alpaca and vicu�a (a vicu�a throw generally costs about $50, depending on quality; bargaining expected). Vicu�a is protected in many countries. Be sure you have a certificate of origin before you take your vicu�a across a South American border.
Rio's Copacabana is a cheerful, highly democratic beach, with good hotels. The current favorites are the Trocadero ($6.50-$7.50 double, European plan) and the Ouro Verde ($7.50-$9).
Restaurants: Brazilian food can be very good indeed. Try the Churrascaria Gaucha (about $5 for two). The specialty is the churrasco, broiled meat. Taste the farofa (roasted manioc flour) with which Brazilians accompany their meat. Bahianinha is another place with typical Brazilian dishes, such as vatap�, a peppery concoction of fish, shrimp and manioc. Draft beer is first-rate and so is the coffee, if you like it strong.
Night life: There are plenty of dark little bars and bo�tes which begin to show signs of life around 11 p.m. Sacha's, the best-known, gets the fashionable crowd; Fred's is a supper club; Drink is a bar with dancing; and Night and Day has the best show.
Shopping: The best buys are semiprecious stones. It is much cheaper to have them set in Brazil, and takes four or five days. A huge topaz will cost about $20-$100, an aquamarine $50-$2,000, depending on quality.