A Bolivian Breakup.

Dear Bolivia,

We’re breaking up with you.

It’s not you, it’s us.

Well. It depends I suppose.

But we’ve made our decision. We’ve gotta go.

It’s not like we didn’t give you a chance, though.

When we wanted internet and it took you two weeks to almost download one episode of Tattoo Fixers, we forgave you.

When we ordered vegetarian pasta and got overcooked soup noodles in tomato water with one miserable piece of lettuce on top, we forgave you. Same thing when I tried to order nachos and you gave me three fried crackers with a teaspoon of refried beans with the same miserable piece of lettuce on top.

Then when the cold and the altitude and the food made us sick for three days, we forgave you. And again when you cancelled all of the taxis in the city so we had to call the damn ambulance to fix Myrthe.
Then, when we were better and wanted to go to a female wrestling show and you gave us half an hour of three portly women doing a worse job at faking pain than me at drama school, we forgave you.

We gave you one last chance. We booked a tour to go to Oruro to see the world-famous carnival. Surely that would be worth getting up at 3 and getting back at 3 in the morning. Music, costumes, colours, a party… yes, surely you couldn’t let us down with that.

And by god, the first few hours you didn’t. The pictures say it all.




We sat on the uncomfortable wooden benches, braving the cold, all to see those beautiful Bolivian princesses and terrifying devils parade past. We put up with having so little space we had to sit in between the legs of two old men and having two old ladies squished in between ours. We put up with a lady coming round every five seconds to push us this way and that because she wasn’t happy with where we were sitting. Even when she put a piece of rope on my head to try to get me to move. We put up with the pickpocket standing behind our stand, eyeing our bags for hours on end while we held on to them obstinately. We put up with the drunken Argentinians behind us spraying us with foam every two minutes.

We didn’t care, we were at carnival. It was awesome. Well. Let me be honest here. We didn’t care for the first three hours. After that, the dutchies sitting next to us informed us that this was the plan, for the whole day. Until 11pm, we would be sitting in these stands, braving the cold and the foam and the pickpocket and the cramps and the piece of orange string on my head. We’d been sitting there since 8 in the morning. Okay, so only twelve more hours to go.

And we stayed, until the clock hit 8pm and we hit a low of having been up for over 17 hours. I won’t even go into the journey back to La Paz, enough whining, not enough sleep.

Moral number one of the story, we’re breaking up with Bolivia. Out of La Paz, firstly. Which of course wasn’t going to go smoothly, that’d just be too easy. Hurdle no. 1, no buses out of La Paz for the next three days. Thank you Carnival. Hurdle no. 2, airline websites that are so impossible to navigate the last 5 seats disappeared before our eyes. Hurdle no. 3, no more (affordable) things to do to fill our time until buses run again.

But fear not, we found a way. We always do. A one-way ticket to the one place that somewhat resembles Europe in this otherwise very un-home like country: Sucre. Sounds sweet, doesn’t it?

Moral number two of the story: travelling for extended amounts of time makes you a spoilt brat. Everything you see, everything you do you compare to things you’ve done before. Oh this restaurant isn’t as good or cheap as the one’s in Indonesia. Oh this dance isn’t half as cool as the Maori Haka we saw in New Zealand. Oh this healthcare system is so much more inefficient than Thailand. Ugh how dare these people not sing as well as that live band we once saw in Georgetown in Malaysia. Frankly, it takes a lot to shake yourself into a reality check and tell yourself that each country is awesome in its own way and that you might never get the chance to see it again, so you might as well enjoy the hell of it while it’s there. Or, if it’s La Paz, shrug, and move the hell on to Sucre and hope it’ll bring more awesomeness.

Only time will tell. But for now, we’re off to watch every single movie in the one cinema offering movies in English, which so happens to be a treat-yoself VIP cinema. With you’ve-had-a-hard-week recliner chairs. And self-pity popcorn. Life is hard. Or is it? Up to you.





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