A Colorful Bolivian Bastion, Floating Above It All - NYTimes.com
“Lots of people describe El Alto as a revolutionary city, but it’s the capital of capitalism,” said Mario Durán, an activist who works to improve Internet access.
Home to about 220,000 residents in 1985, the city swelled as poor farmers and out-of-work miners poured in from the countryside. It is now bigger than La Paz, with an estimated size of well over one million. The population is overwhelmingly Aymara, one of the country’s main indigenous groups, and the immigrants have brought with them a fierce work ethic and a laissez-faire zest for business.
The most prominent feature of El Alto is its vast open-air market, which fills mile upon mile of city streets every Sunday and Thursday.