|Title:||llama foetuses and bowler hats|
|Posted On:||2007-05-15 12:17:48|
a sign reads: 4.085m: paceña es cerveza.Listening To:
i´m in el alto, the poor suburb of la paz that gulfs the canyon all around the city which lays 285m below, after 18 hours with a fat chiquitana spilling into my seat and a brasilian whose seat goes back so far it´s digging into my legs.
i huff and puff, tiago stay still, my 30 kg pack digging into my shoulders, arms stuffed with another pack and the dog, a bag full of leather and yarn in my other hand. the altitude is making me dizzy and faint, going up and down up and down, searching for a hostel, a cheap one, but no luck.
hay una habitacion?
lo siento, no hay.. no hay...
three hours later i put down my pack and sigh, gasping for breath at this altitude is difficult, despite chewing what seem like kilos of hojas de coca and bica.
tiago is hungry and whining and i´m hungry too, can´t remember the last time i ate. i decide to go to the hong kong pollos a la brasa where three funny looking dudes are standing, looking at me, until one comes up and asks
sabes donde hay ketamina? o cocaina?
non mec, ch´uis en desintox
turns out they are all french, turns out they know friends of mine, turns out the world is small, but i knew that already.
i kiss a llama foetus and click, snap a picture, children run up to me to pet tiago and try the accordeon,
quiero sacar una foto! puedo? porfá! dame dos bolivanos...
seems like they should be paying me for using the accordeonito, but i laugh and snap away, click, click, click, blurry hazes of smiling faces stolen in the night.
cold altiplano morning wakes me up, i hear french all around, babies crying, tiago whining - ok little man, i´ll take you out as i sip my maté and try to combat the oncoming symptoms of soroche.
la paz awaits, filthy cesspool of markets and gringos, witches markets and plainclosthed policemen trying to sell you cocaine so you can land 20 years in a cramped bolivian jail cell - not my idea of a fun vacation.
the dog twitches in his sleep, a boliviana walks by, que lindo! como se llama?
oh! me lo prestas! que lindo cachorrito!
i smile as the mountain sun touches my face, the smell of salteñas making my mouth water, the images of flapping skirts and aprons, colourful patterned shawls used as backpacks and bowler hats propped firmly atop thick tresses of wool and hair dancing on my eyeballs.
a woman sits next to me, asks me about the dog, asks me about the piercings, her name is liliana, i think, cause that´s what the ski mask wearing shoe shiner calls her.
he asks me if i´ll give him the dog. i laugh.
a second one comes and tries to steal my shoes. un cambio por los mios!
no, lo siento, dame mi zapato, gracias. buen día, i say and walk off into the hustle and bustle of the city.
crazy mornings, crazy lives. bolivia is never quite what you´d expect, and so much more.
chicha, chicha fria