la paz. so. where to start.
the llama foetuses? the shoe shiner who tried to steal my shoe? the san pedro cactuses sold at the witches market for a mere dollar fitty? fried chicken everywhere? the strange street man who grabbed my arm pleading that i give him money, and as i said dejame! and took my arm out of his bony grasp i smacked him in the face (by accident)?
or maybe my food poisoning - it was bound to happen sometime, living dangerously the way i do, except that it wasn´t caused by eating salteñas made by fat mamitas, but by a rather odd tasting wonton soup. serves me right for craving chinese food in bolivia, i guess.
it goes up and down and up and down and huff and puff and pause, heart.. going.. to.. explode. the pollution and the cars and the 70 degree hills and the traffic, both human and mechanical, all of this added on to the fact that you´re living between 3 800m and 4 085 m at all times just makes it so hard to breathe.
at night sometimes it felt like i was suffocating, a big sign of soroche, but i survived.
i think i have everyone covered for presents now. can you say neurotik ALPACA crew?
i sent home 7 kilos yesterday. it cost me a whopping 250 bolivianos. that´s a little under 40$. woot.
isa and her chilean friend maria josé came back to town, we went out for a lovely vegetarian meal with some kind of soya meatballs covered in cheese and god it was good, such a relieving change from, oh what´s this? FRIED FOOD. we went to get our tickets for copacabana and the lady at the desk asked us, french, the both of you? no, french, and canadian. i asked how she knew and she said the accent - surely isa has a very noticeable francophone accent but me? ME?!?!?! with my trusty rrrrs and shhhs and dropin off the d´s in ados and whatnot, with all that linguistic practise, surely she couoldn´t mean that i had a (heaven forbid) FRENCH ACCENT!
i was crushed. so i went and had a coca maté to cheer myself up.
we decided that for our last night in la paz we needed to do something, so we bought a 10 boliviano bottle of rhum (read: DOLLAR FITTY) and looked for food, salchipapas and cheese bread just wouldn´t cut it, so we wandered off towards the oblisk and saw a big MB in the distance.
McBoli! I exclaimed. the mc donald´s of the altiplano!
McBoli! replied the chorus of hungry people.
it actually stood for megaburger but we thought mcboli was funnier.
it was that, or salchipapas, or broaster chicken (read: deep fried chicken deep fried plantain and deep fried fries, which goes without saying)
after that we wandered down to traffic and surprise! the dj was a boli-frenchy. spinning ridiculously awesome acid house and old school detroit and uk techno. Stay up forever? check. Jeff Mills? check. old school Prodigy? check. Vitalic? check.
I know of a certain roommate of mine who would have been nuts. hell i went nuts - i needed a bit of speakerlove.
and then the trance hit, and that´s when i hit the bar, and met a lovely catalan girl who assured me my accent had nothing left of catalá at all, but that i sounded purely argentine. aww. thanks. i do still make a point of saying barthelona instead of barcelona, just because i can´t imagine saying it any other way.
after the comment from the lady at the bus terminal this boosted my ego and i went along happily chatting away in castellano with a myriad of different people.
i met a few people i wanted to hit, one that was trying to teach me about france, when i lived there for oh 8 years? hi, douchebag? don´t try to tell me that bretons and provençales have the same culture, cause we don´t. in any case whenever i´d try to say something he´d say, will you let me speak?
at one point i asked if he was interested in having a conversation or a monologue, and then i left.
then this italian girl lashed out at me when i was trying to help thibault out of the bar, he walked into her and i said lo siento, and she got really mad at me for no apparent reason, piss off you french bitch, i hate the french, i´m italian, blablablabla, vafanculo, vafanculo. i almost headbutted her, but decided that i´d let her make a fool out of her skankself by walking away. i don´t understand people who judge someone based on their nationality - i´m better than that. she obviously wasn´t. i bolted after that.
one thing i´ve noticed in bolivia is people are either extremely pleasant, friendly and helpful, or the are complete assholes. i´ll ask them something in spanish and they look at me as if i´m speaking to them in uyghur. i´ll repeat and repeat and they´ll just stand there - no entiendo
no entiendes o no quieres entender, la concha de tu madre!
the altiplano dwellers are a perfect example of that. they are either odious or delightful, whereas in the oriente, or eastern bolivia, people are generally a lot nicer, and generally politer. but, as in all of south america, people never say oops! sorry! i just bumped into you! or pardon me for stepping on your dog!
cultural differences or lack of education? maybe both?
in any case the indigenous population here seriously needs to learn garbage management and sanitation, because throwing bags of piss out the window (poor hitchhikers) or leaving their trash everywhere, only to burn it all later is definately not hygenic, nor ecofriendly.
getting a little sidetracked here, this morning i ran back to the hostel and put a very very very drunken thibault to bed before grabbing ALMOST all my shit (i left my CAMERA CHARGER DOH and my ganesh statuette) and then ran to isa and m jota´s hostel to wait for the bus. while waiting a delightful old man came and spoke to us and asked us if we were tourists, i said depends on your definition of tourist.
well there´s the tourist who comes with a camera and a credit card and hangs around with ex pats and just looks at sites and has little or no interest in local culture, and there´s the person who goes to share things and discover new people, cultures, places.
très bien, but you know those piercings on your face are going to give you cancer?
it was still a pleasant morning.
we jumped on the bus and promptly crashed, and upon arriving here in copacabana went to eat some fresh trout from lake titicaca.
delightful, and i´m not big on fish.
tomorrow we jump on a ferry for isla del sol where we´ll camp until tuesday morning when thibault comes to meet us and then we go to the jungle and i don´t know what isa is doing yet.
i have 20 days left and i´m petrified, i don´t want to leave, i especially don´t want to go back to lima the dreadful, but then again i miss my pajeritos and i´m sure the feeling is mutual... for most of them, anyway.
i´m going to go get a nice cold beer and go pet the alpaca standing in the street and hopefully dip my feet in the lake, which has a year round temperature of between 10 and 15 degrees, which is a hell of a lot warmer than the strait of magellan.