Last night I dreamed I was in Bolivia. Perhaps it was a sign that I should post these blog excerpts. Perhaps it wasn't. Never mind, here they are anyway.
10 July 2003
The windy, icy cold truck stop town of Patamaya (3900 metres) was our breakfast venue. We dined on fresh sweet cherimoya (custard apples), hot coca tea and some fresh cheese-filled flaky turnovers called saltenas, Bolivia’s most popular national savoury snack.
Before getting back in the car, I couldn't resist photographing this little boy outside the restaurant. His mother was very disturbed to see me with camera poised, and yelled at me in her native aymara, but the boy obliged me and so by the time she starting running towards me, it was too late, and her son's image was immortalised in cyber space.
We drove for hours across the treeless landscape, the starkly beautiful mountain passes adorned only with snow and saltbush. At one point as the highway climbed upward above a breathless 4000 metres, we zoomed passed a group of boys perched on a mountain pass who appeared to be selling something. I asked my driver Mathuresh if he would turn the car around for a closer inspection.
The boys were selling big heavy granite spice grinding stones, which they were chipping away and making on the spot. I would have loved to buy one were they not so heavy - at least 10kg each. It was interesting that they very much resembled the large stone mortars that I had encountered in India. We posed for a photo, joked around a bit, then, as I got back inside the car, I gave them a big bag of puffed cereal to share.
We finally descended into sunny Cochabamba at lunchtime. I could breathe again! Next stop - lunch at the Epicentro – Cochabamba’s eclectic downtown Hare Krishna temple. After a brief rest we would then head to the Restaurant Gopal on Calle Espana at the Galeria Olimpia for a Sunday evening cooking class. My hosts had advertised my visit widely, and showed me one of the many posters had been put up around town announcing, along with all the details:
Primera visita a Sud America
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Posted by Kurma on 11/9/10; 3:10:44 AM
from the dept.