Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lake Titicaca!

Where in the name of God do I even begin?!

I had been planning a trip to Lake Titicaca for some time now with Forest Jarvis, a fellow exchange student. I thought it would be impossible to convince Rotary, but we finally got everything worked out, and we shipped off for Lake Titicaca on the night of Friday, April 23.

Forest made it to Sucre by around 2:15, and we spent the day running all over town in the rain. Forest found a toothbrush, I kept myself from eating chocolate, he ate a burger...and my gyro, I forgot our luggage, and I laughed hysterically. Nightfall came quick, and we headed to the bus terminal(with our luggage). We miraculously made it to the right bus and did everything perfectly. By the time we rolled out of Sucre at 7:45, we were laughing and comfortable--well, I was at least. For those of you that have seen my monstrously tall brother, well, you should know that Forest tops him. At least Forest's shoe size is human though. I ended up picking the two worst seats for Forest's legs, and after kindly begging nearby passengers to change seats we just gave up. Bolivians aren't too friendly about that kind of thing. So I lulled myself off to sleep eventuallly by saying randomly ridiculous things to Forest. Thank goodness he could laugh at my stupidity instead of getting too annoyed by it. I guess I slept until about 2:30, while Forest sat uncomfortable on a quiet, smelly bus. We stopped then in Oruru and switched seats, which allowed Forest to get some sleep and me to get no more. By 7:30ish we arrived in La Paz, found an 8:30 bus to Copacabana, and continued our travel. The 3-hour drive to Copacabana was pleasant. We saw the lake for probably 2 hours of the trip. We had to stop in a tiny town to cross part of the lake on a barge. I was too tired to remember much of that point, but there were lots and lots of tourists that Forest and I got to laugh at.

By noonish we were in Copacabana searching for decent bathrooms and a real meal. The town was charming and quiet. After eating a quick lunch and laughing at the nearby germans(german sounds like english cuss words), we headed up to the cathedral and scoped out a few Kodak moments. Eventually Forest decided to get my touristy self on track; we bought some bus tickets for the return to La Paz, and scoped out a boat for the trip to Sun Island(Isla del Sol). All the boats had left, so we had to pay for a private boat. One guy offered us 300 bolivianos, but we eventually got a trip for 150 bolivianos. By late afternoon Forest and I were seated atop El Cisne in the cool, open air awaiting our arrival to La Isla del Sol.

After two hours of rocking back and forth on Lake Titicaca and getting wind-burned cheeks and lips, we pulled up to the southern end of the island. I was super excited for the hike to our hostal, but I seemed to lose that after 2 minutes of hiking. Forest Jarvis. That kid knows how to hike. His long legs and 0% body fat served him well. I, however, wasn't doing too well. Literally two minutes in, I was panting. The altitude, my ridiculously out-of-shape Bolivian body, and my three bags were slowly killing me. I stopped at least every minute of that hour-long up-mountain hike to inhale some desperately-needed Lake Titicaca oxygen. In my favor, we were going at a ridiculous pace. I kind of expected the hike to be a little more relaxed and pleasant, but the sun was setting quickly and hell if Forest the Fotographer was going to miss out on that. :P At long last, my butt reached flat lands. And my butt was happy. So were my lungs. And my back. And my feet. And my legs. I about burst out laughing when we got the keys to our rooms and Forest said he was going to hike up the next mountainside. 'Is he kidding?!' I left him and his camera alone while I organized my room. After a while I gave in and decided to do a nice little hike as well in time for the sunset.

The village was adorable. Filled with hostals and food joints, but incredibly quiet. Every other pizza place had a donkey and some women knitting behind customers. Typical Bolivia. The weather was pretty chilly, but perfect for such hiking. Again, I eventually made it to the top of my next hill/mountain, but that included a fair amount of stopping and panting. There was a small band practicing halfway up that managed to put a little spring into my lazy step. Every time I stopped to appreciate my surroundings, the view got better. The view changed so much every ten feet of rise. It got better every time. The lake is HUGE! Immense. Gigantic. I don't have the proper adjectives to help you all understand just how impressive and big the lake is. There should be another word invented just for that lake to represent something between the size of a lake and the size of a sea. I sat at the top among other tourists as the sun set and the day was pretty well over.

Our second day began very early. As tired as I was, I somehow awoke at 3:30 a.m. By the time 4:15 rolled around, I was bundled up and headed up the mountain. The stars were killer, and the air was crisp, but the hiking kept me cozy enough. I took a break halfway up to sprawl out under the stars and play zampona--mostly because I was tired and unable to see with just the light of my cell phone lantern. :) When I became cold again I just kept right on walking until I found a nice cranny at the top of the mountain to shield me a bit from the wind. Around 5:30 I heard the crunch of footsteps nearby. Sure enough, it was Forest. We were both having trouble sleeping, and the idea of a sunrise on Lake Titicaca seemed to suit us better than a warm bed. So we sat and waited for the sunrise. It was gorgeous, but it would have been better if my toes weren't nearly numb. By 7:00 I was bolting back down the mountain to the warmth of my bed, and I understand that Forest was right behind me once his camera started getting loopy due to the cold.

So we started the day early. I got a quick nap between 7:00 and 8:00 before going down for a breakfast of two hot chocolates and two deliciously dense pieces of bread with jam. Soon after breakfast, Forest and I were headed out of the village on a hike. We curved down one side of the mountain through another village. Eventually we lost track of the path and did our own thing. I slipped more than a few times and all-out fell at least twice. We regularly crossed paths with quiet natives and always greeted them with a friendly 'buenas tardes.' Most times they responded the same. There was an abundance of pigs, donkeys, sheep, and llamas on leashes during the hike. Much to Forest's amusement, I had to stop regularly to baby-talk to them as I have been missing pets and animals dearly. At last we made it off the steepest part and ran into a group of farms overlooking a happy little bay. I managed to make it down through streams and sloppy animal pens without getting dirty, but I am not so sure about the condition of Forest's shoes.

The bay was stunning. There was nothing in sight but the clear waters and gorgeous mountains on a distant shore. To our backs we were surrounded by a village and farms running down the sides of three high hills hugging us. The braying of donkeys, the mooing of cows, and the oinking of sloppy pigs reminded me that I was actually in Bolivia and not skipping through pages of a travel magazine. A cute 3-year-old native Aymara boy took a break from his life to skip rocks on the lake with Forest while I took off my shoes and hunted for pretty rocks along the shore. I think both Forest and I were in heaven at this point. I could have taken a nice long nap on the beach, but lunch was nearing and we didn't have much in the way of food.

We continued the hike after a couple hours of serenity, wrapping up the sides of the hills surrounding the bay and passing through another village. As we crossed from the east side to the west side of the island, we ran into random villagers doing laundry in a stream or herding their sheep. Every child we passed asked for candies, food, or money to take a photo with them. The only food we had was my two packs of crackers, so I willingly whipped out one pack to give to a sweet little girl. She saw the other pack and asked for that as well. I couldn't say no, so Forest and I were left with just a little water to tide us over until a very late lunch. We made it back to the hostel around 1:00 or 2:00, so lunch was sounding like a good plan. We scoped out a pizza joint of the many to choose from. It was completely void of customers, but it had an umbrella and a fair view of the lake. Moises, the owner, popped his head out of a door after I called out a few times in search of service. He was so eager to serve us. Overly friendly. We only had once choice of pizza, but it sounded delicious so Forest and I said yes. Moises was so eager to explain that it might take a while as he makes the dough instead of purchasing it premade in Copacabana. He just seemed so happy to have a customer and to make us happy. I really didn't care how long it took. The sight was too charming to think about the wait, and I made up for the wait in stupid laughter, blonde moments, and great conversation. Forest explained that his host-grandfather was a guerilla way back when, but I heard that as 'gorilla.' That resulted in some nonstop laughter. Then I just randomly burst out in hysterical laughter for no apparent reason at times. We just kind of lazed around that afternoon and it was really great.

As we wrapped up lunch, I opened my bag to pay. Moises chuckled when he noticed my zampona sticking out. I was so happy as this opened up a great opportunity. I had been hoping to run into someone to teach me a zampona song typical of the area, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I asked him if he could teach me a song, and he seemed eager to engage yet again. I lent Moises my zampona for him to practice a bit while Forest the Fotographer headed out for some Kodak Moments and I relaxed under the sun. Finally Moises decided he'd had enough practice, and we all stepped into his restaurant. I was absolutely delighted to film him playing two songs that I have yet to learn, but the best part came later. He started playing a song I recognized--the first song I learned on zampona, 'Alturas.' We did a horrible-sounding duet of Moises on cana(another wind instrument) and myself on zampona. I don't even care that we sounded horrible because I had such a great time being able to converse and share music with a random man on an ancient island in the middle of a lake named Titicaca. How many people get to say they have done that? I like to believe I am one of very few. We wrapped it up as the sun started to fall behind the mountain. I was feeling quite giddy and rejuvenated as I stepped out his door.

That was pretty much a day, and Forest and I split up to lollygag around the village after sunset. I was left without an appetite after a late lunch; I offered the leftover pizza to Forest, settled for a banana, broken crackers, and water, and hit the sack early in the pursuit of decent sleep after a very long day.

Again, I managed to wake up at 3:30, but this time I stayed warm in my bed until the sun came out. My anal self had everything pretty well organized and packed the night before, so there wasn't much to do on our last morning. I sipped hot cocoa before checking out of my room and simply sat outdoors in the chilly air, appreciating the last hours of my stay on La Isla del Sol. Forest wrapped up his morning and we headed out early for the hike back down to the boats. I think I managed to fall once, and my legs were quivering from the steep down-mountain hike. I claimed to prefer hiking up that mountain versus hiking down it, but Forest knew better. He had to listen to my whining all the way up two days earlier, and apparently it was far more exaggerated on the upward hike. :)

We arrived at the bottom, bought some tickets, and laid in the shade while waiting for our 10:30 departure.

Before coming to Bolivia, I would have been sad to descend the island. I think Forest and I both agreed that good-byes have become much easier. Too easy. I have come to see that good-byes don't have to be forever, and more often than not they are most definitely not forever. So instead of taking crappy last-minute pictures and being sad for the tail end of a trip, I just keep the trip going until the end. I don't waste time being sad, but appreciate each part of the trip for what it is. Then end is no different than the beginning. I am certain I will be returning to Bolivia and its natural wonders some day, and if I do not return then it will be because I am doing even bigger and better things with my life. On the last two hours of our bus trip to La Paz, I started to realize that I would have to say chau to my kick-tushy travel partner at some point. Again, instead of getting sad, I just took advantage of what could possibly be my last two hours with him and threw in what remained in my storehouse of randomness, stupidity, and non-stop laughter. We hopped off the bus, gave eachother the hugs we promised at the beginning of the trip, and walked in other directions. It was almost too easy to say goodbye, but that is the way life goes I suppose.

I walked to the bus terminal, bought a 7:00 bus ticket, and the rest is history. I had a great trip. I feel so lucky to be here in South America! Rotary youth exchange is the best. I don't know how I ever would have been able to handle a trip like that so well were it not for this opportunity that Rotary has given me. I feel like I am prepared to continue my life and do so happily. If a 19-year-old and a 17-year-old can plan, execute, survive, and enjoy a trip alone in a foreign country, then that must mean something. And at this point in the paragraph, I quit beginning each sentence with "I." :)

Good morning, good afternoon, and good night. Be happy, peoples....and go see my fotos of the trip at

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Late Aprilish

Here is a little randomness for the end of April before I head out on a trip to Lake Titikaka this Friday.

Line started playing zampoña as well, so we have gotten together a couple times to share our knowledge. We spent one afternoon in the plaza with the plan to play, but we were surrounded by questioning children and adults the majority of the time. It was quite enjoyable however, and Line was very pleased to get some of the insider information I have been learning from René.
There was a great concert last Saturday, and I went with Line and her friend Gemma from Canada. There haven't been any concerts in town for the last 3 or 4 months, so I was thrilled to finally go out, and the concert was absolutely incredible. Los Kjarkas was the group that everyone in Bolivia adores, but Line and I agreed that Kala Marca was the best of the three groups that played that night. As almost everyone knows, I hate dancing; however, I was dancing like crazy at the end of Kala Marca's set. There is something about traditional Bolivian music that just gets to me. I hear a zampoña and a bass drum and I am hooked. So the concert was great, and the company was as well.

In my last post I commented about Jorgito's occasional immaturity, and I imagine I sounded kind of harsh. I would like to make up for that in this post. I adore him. We were driving home Sunday night and he was exhausted. He just looked at me and then plopped his head on my lap and made himself comfortable for the rest of the ride. I love how childlike that is(not childish). He isn't afraid to show affection. It made me very happy inside.

Jorge's cousin, Claudia Brita Calvo, and aunt, Gladys, from Chile are in town this week. I had been in contact with Claudia via Skype for the past 5 months, so it was nice to finally meet her in person. She is quite outgoing. She is opening a boutique in Chile, so she brought back a boatload of clothes to sell to all the women of Sucre. I see nothing wrong with clothing in Bolivia, but Bolivian women go absolutely nuts when they can spend way too much American dollars on fashion. Bolivian women. As I have said before, I fit in much better with the men. I just don't get it sometimes.

Abu, my grandmother, had an accident last night. She is an older woman and doing well, but she should not be wearing heels still. She picked up Jorgito from tennis and fell. Somehow, she dislocated her shoulder. Instead of going to the hospital, she went to her home. Finally Vivi took her to the hospital, and Abu was put under for a 10-minute surgery.
Abu seems fine, probably because she is on twenty-dollar pills. I was worried about Jorgito. I would be terrified if I were that young and my grandmother fell like that. He shrugged it off when I asked him if he was okay, so I will never know I guess. I really hope Abu will quit wearing heels...but I doubt that will come true.
On a more amusing note, I had to do a double take when I saw Abu at lunch today. She had pink eyebrows! Well, not really, since she doesn't have eyebrows at all. She has tattooed eyebrows that are thin and dark blue-gray. Normally she will put on brownish liner, but I think the twenty-dollar drugs altered her sight as the liner was pink today. I am not being mean or vicious, but I find it quite endearing and hysterical. I think she mistook her liner for lip-liner. Am I mean, or is this slightly amusing? Abu, Abu. I love that woman.

I had an incredible morning at the Psicopedagógico today! Heyde is one of my favorite children. She is in a wheelchair, but she never wants to sit in it. Every recess, I know she is just dying to sit next to me on the bench. So for the past month, I ask random workers if I can take her out and seat her next to me if I watch her carefully. A couple times, the workers just brush me off with an iffy 'no,' but most times they just completely ignore me. This makes me really mad when they do that, because I really feel like they don't care about the children. The kid wants to walk, so why aren't you trying to teach her?! Seriously! Finally, this morning I asked the director, and she was very sweet and open about it. She just grabbed Heyde out of her seat and set her next to me. I was so happy to be respected, and I know Heyde was too. She was beaming! Absolutely thrilled to not be the handicapped girl in a wheelchair. That wasn't enough for her though. She wanted to walk! I know no words worthy of explaining how happy I was for Heyde. Line helped Heyde walk around while I got some great snapshots. I plan on doing this every morning with Heyde. I am almost mad at the people that work there, because Heyde has been expressing a desire to do this for a long time now. Instead of helping this determined and intelligent girl learn to walk and eat alone, they sit and talk amongst themselves. They pretend to be blind to her desires. Instead of being mad, I am just going to keep doing this with Heyde while hoping she improves before I leave. I will get a special folder of Psicopedagógico pictures up on soon. I have gotten some really great photos of these children. They are really inspiring.

This month has been incredible, and I will be ending it with a bang. This Friday Forest Jarvis will be flying in from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, to go on a trip to Lake Titikaka with me. I am súper excited. Forest is a fellow Rotary Youth Exchange student that I got to meet when he came to Sucre earlier this year. So he flies in Friday morning, we take an overnight bus to La Paz. Saturday morning we take a 2-hour bus trip from La Paz to Copacabana, and then from Copacabana we take a boat to La Isla del Sol(Sun Island). We will stay overnight on the island both Saturday and Sunday. Sunday morning we go back to La Paz. From there Forest flies back to Santa Cruz and I take an overnight bus back to Sucre. I can't wait to step foot in a lake whose name I once laughed at in 8th-grade Social Studies. Seriously?! I love Rotary!

Chau until my next blog, which I am sure will be all about Lago Titikaka.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Early Aprilish

This is an email I wrote to my mother on Easter Sunday. It pretty much explains everything that was going on at the beginning of the month.

Oh my goodness today was great. We didn't really do anything for Easter, but the week before was 'celebrated,' if you wan't to call it that. Vivi didn't eat beef the whole week, we had a really yummy seafood soup for lunch on friday, and Vivi made two batches of arroz con leche. Arroz con leche=rice with milk. It is a dessert. Today was elections for mayor. My uncle Fernando is running, and though everyone thought he would lose he is actually at a close tie for first but running second. I doubt he will make it. So I walked a mile with my family, Lucho and Sandra and their son Danny, and our neighbor and her daughter this morning to the poll booths. They use ink and fingerprints for voting. There were absolutely no buses,cars, or anything on the roads, so it felt like the Apocalypse again with the streets filled with people walking. After voting we got back to the house and I helped Sandra prepare lunch. Everyone came over and I just got home now....Jorge and Vivi are still there. Jorge has consumed a lot of alcohol, and I find him quite amusing. He slurs his words together. And cusses a lot. He is funny. And he always drinks with Julio, who is the brother-in-law of my Aunt Sandra. Julio is awesome. He is going to take me out four-wheeling on the mountains and stuff sometime. Everytime he drinks he speaks in English with me. He wouldn't stop pointing at the newspaper and saying "my newspaper!"tonight...he is the owner of the newspaper in Sucre. He is hilarious, and you should be forewarned that he will be visiting us in Iowa in a year or two....I kind of invited him. And you can bet that he WILL come. Which is a great thing because he would fit right in down at the bunk house with our family. He would love it....and you would love him. And his english is super good too. So his tushy is coming to Iowa. Ummm....I love talking to him and Jorge when they are drinking. Tonight we talked about the Amazon and piranhas. He loves the jungle and would take me on a trip there if I had more than two months left. He went fishing in the amazon and a guy he was with swam with the piranhas, but they didn't even harm him because he had no wounds. But apparently they caught a whole bunch of piranhas, went back to the hotel, and had a wicked-awesome chef prepare them. I didn't know piranhas were very good to eat, but apparently they are amazingly delicious. What more....ummm, I officially understand everything when the adults are talking in groups. I love family get-togethers so much more now. Jorge and Julio are a riot. You need to come with me to Bolivia some day. I swear I am going to be furious if you don't. I swear.
So I am happy. Yesterday I spent all afternoon baking oatmeal choco chunk cookies at Laura's home. The first batch sucked, but we got it all figured out and they are really yummy. We had fun as usual, but it was even more fun when her grandmother came down and chatted with us...well,'argued' with us would be the proper description. Blunkie is her nickname. She is psycho, but I absolutely adore her. Our conversation started with cookies, went to the existence of aliens, and then to the latest invention of the atom smasher and how the aliens put the idea into our heads, and then to gay people, and to how gay people have to do artificial insemination, and I didn't understand her spanish so I thought she was saying that gay people are gay because their 'reproductive systems' don't work, but then we got that clear. Then we talked about how hyper Laura was from eating all those cookies, and Blunkie said she can't eat lots of sugar or she gets worms, and then we argued about the teas that Laura's mom brought from the states as a gift for Blunkie, and I miraculously convinced Blunkie that the Chai tea was amazing and she promised me she would give in and try it. Laura and Blunkie argued the whole time while I sat there and laughed at them. I mostly went against Laura every time just so Blunkie would keep talking. That woman is a hoot. If you spoke Spanish, she would be another reason for you to come to Bolivia.

This is a good month. I absolutely could not believe that I had only two months left at the time of writing this letter. Now I absolutely can not believe that I have less than two months! It is insane how quick the time passes, and it will be passing even quicker now. A week from tomorrow I will be going on a trip with a friend to Lake Titicaca for a few days. I will get back from that on the 27th. Then I will be spending my last few days with Line, a great friend I met through volunteering. Perhaps we will be making a trip to the jungle on the first of May, but that is unlikely.

Line is a Danish sweetie. She started learning zampoña as well, so we are going to get together and teach eachother some songs tomorrow. We did a really long walk through Mercado Campesino, one of the 3 main markets here, the other day and were warned by some women that a guy was trying to rob us. That was great, so we flew out of there pretty quick. We went there to find 'pito.' René told me that I have to try pito before leaving Bolivia. I guess I would compare it to MaltOMeal. And I like MaltOMeal, so ya. At the end of my lengthy walk with Line, I had a pain in my leg. Line, being an occupational therapist gave me a detailed account of what it was and how to get rid of it. She said it could last for amonth, but I think it is getting better already. I went to aerobics the morning after the pain started, and that was really really really unintelligent. It was horrible and hilarious. I couldn't even lift my leg up steps without grimacing. Getting into Jorge's Pathfinder is amusing as well. I literally had to lift my left leg into the car with my hands. It feels much better now though and I think it will be fine for hiking all over Lake Titicaca's islands in a week!

Jorgito has to win everything. He is very competitive, but not really, because if he loses he is a baby. So he always is competitive over really really stupid and annoying stuff like sitting in the front seat of the car or beating me to the door of the house when we get home every day. Really annoying, but whatever. He is 9 years old. He had a national tennis tournament last weekend and played very well. I was really proud of him the first match because he lost and left the court with a smile. He never once started crying or throwing his racket like he did when I first arrived in Bolivia. He has improved much in that aspect. The second day he came back and played really really well. I am proud. It is a big thing to overcome in less than a year. It took me years to get over my poor sportsmanship.

Tomorrow afternoon I am going to meet up with a woman named Daniella. She is a young mother of two and in her last year of college studying foreign languages. She wants to have tea tomorrow and work on her English. It is very random, but she seems harmless and sweet and it could be a good chance to make a friend.

René, my music teacher, just turned 24 a while ago. I had been wanting to explain to him my history with music and all that crap that I wrote in my last 'cheesy/sentimental' blog because he is a sentimental person as well and we are often 'on the same page.' So I wrote a letter and had Oriana help me in translating it to Spanish. Oriana loved the letter. She is just as sentimental as I am, if not more so. So though I was nervous about expressing this stuff on paper, she had me convinced that it would be the best gift in the world. Reluctantly, I gave René the letter on his birthday. Turns out, I probably shouldn't have given it to him. He has never said a thing about it. Not one word. The lesson after I gave him the letter, he brought up the topic of age. He kept saying I was really young and that he is 'un viejo'--an old man. Afterward I was thinking, 'hmmm, does René think I have feelings for him?' He was being weird. Plus, he is in a very very serious relationship and will probably be married in a year or so. So much time has passed since I handed him that very heartfelt letter, and not a word has been said. No way in hell will I ever bring it up to him either. Yes, the guy is gorgeous and I think he is an amazing person, but really?! What the heck! Can't a girl just appreciate someone without them getting the wrong idea. It is things like this that lower my self esteem and make me hide who I am. But whatever. René can interpret it how he wants. Not my fault he assumes a little girl might have the hotts for him. I was told by someone that the way to fixing this possible problem is to tell him that I have a serious boyfriend. Sounds alright, but I just can't do it. It would be a flat out lie, and I would not even be able to embellish it accurately due to lack of experience. Oh my. What an amusing predicament. Sigh. That wasn't at all what I intended by the letter, but I guess that is just how people take things like that anymore. I would have done much better back in Shakespeare's world.

On the topic of Easter Sunday. Abu kept attacking me about not being Catholic one day, and then Vivi caught on. She assumes I am atheist just because I am not Catholic. They kept attacking me with questions. "If you don't believe in God, then how did you get here?" Honestly, it kind of pissed me off at the moment. I have been nothing but open to their customs and lifestyle, but everytime I try to explain my lifestyle I end up having to defend it from their judgements. It is hard, but I am not going to change their views. They can believe what they want. I still love them.
That is all the randomness I can think of for the moment. I am really happy here, and super super excited to step foot in the Omaha Eppley Airfield on June 9. I swear I am going to be a big hugger when I get back home. I really really crave hugging and contact.

Speaking of hugging, I am reminded of Laura's family! Laura went on a trip to Argentina with her real family and then they all came to Sucre for a few days before heading back to Oregon. I made sure I got to meet them, and we went out for a great lunch at El Huerto. They were everything I imagined. If I ever get back out to Oregon some day, I will be making a stop to visit them in Bend. They are absolutely hysterical. I got two great hugs from her mother and father before we parted ways, and it felt great. They were great substitute parents for a day, but it did make me a little mellow for the rest of the week. I missed my parents after that. I am fine now, but it gets a little bit difficult again as my time here comes to an end.

I just realized I should fill you in about my uncle Fernando and elections. So he ran for mayor, and he lost. The interesting thing is that the whole family was happy that he lost. Why? Because, had Fernando won, he would most likely have 'disappeared' or been jailed for opposing the wonderful Evo Morales. This is so typical Bolivia, and I think it is fascinating to be a part of it. I am not kidding either. Since the elections, I think 5 people have either disappeared or been jailed. It is horrible.

I will try and post pictures on picasaweb, but I am just too lazy right now.