La Paz

Even as the rain came down, La Paz started to show how a city could function in such an astonishing situation. It's built up the many hillsides of a river descending steeply from a 4000m high plateau.

At night, it feels kind of rough and ready. Alive with people, but not necessarily welcoming. Come the daytime sun, everything seemed a bit smoother, although the noise and traffic never stops.

I wasn't staying in La Paz for long - I had already booked a flight to Rurrenabaque, a jungle town which has become the major centre in Bolivia for tours of the jungle and pampas.

A manic taxi ride up the hill, with the driver weaving in and out, overtaking on either side and tailgating every other vehicle, brought me up to La Paz airport, which is located on the high plateau far above the city centre. A small group of tourists and backpackers excitedly (and somewhat nervously) went through the gate to find a tiny propellor-driven 17-seater plane which would take us to Rurre.

It was a great trip, with no door between the cabin and the cockpit, and everyone having a window seat. The girl immediately in front of me didn't enjoy it quite so much - she had her head over the sick-bag for the entire journey (fortunately only 40 minutes), and obviously suffered for the rest of us. Some terrific views of the mountains right alongside us.

And then we landed, at the really tiny Rurrenabaque airport. Immediately you could feel you're in the jungle.