My So Called Expat Life

Published: July 15th 2015
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Not bad. I went 17 days without a rainy day. In fact for the most part it has been bright sunshine nonstop. I have the sunburn to attest to that fact. Of course, I write this now because it is rainy and cold today. It changes the mood and mellows things out. That it is my first weekend day in Sucre probably also has something to do with this.

This has been the portion of my trip where I pick a city, settle in, unpack my bags, and try to get a feel for how life would be if I lived here. I have enjoyed passing the time here in Sucre. After my no means a hostile breakfast I take a brief nap. Then at around 11 AM or take a long walk through this white city. My first mission is to find the best carne saltena/empanada in town. Then I keep wondering until I find a particularly desirable park bench in one of Sucre's parks or squares and relax.I people watch and get a feel for local life. Because the weather has been so good it could not have been better.

Sometimes I drop into one of the city's numerous Dutch pubs for lunch. In a small way it provides a window into Sucre's expat life. It was in one of these pubs two nights ago that I found myself sitting next to two Japanese guys. We struck up a conversation in Japanese. They understandably were very surprised this huge American with a shaved head could speak Japanese. I found it so nice and relieving to be having a conversation in a foreign language that I actually had some proficiency in.

I wish that I could speak Spanish with the same proficiency. There are so many opportunities that I could take advantage of. Because what I really like to do when I travel to interact with the locals. I am less interested in my fellow backpackers, although some of them do you have a very interesting stories.

For example, earlier in my stay here I met this fascinating American who was in his 60s. He was traveling through Latin America on his own for eight months. And the stories he had to tell. He told stories from a three-year journey he took when he was in his 20s that started in Paris and ended up in Darwin, Australia all overland. Tales from India, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia came pouring out and these were pre-all the travel luxuries that we have today like ATMs, guidebooks, Internet, hostels, cellphones...I could go on. Not to mention this all took place during the 1960s with all of its social upheaval so he had protest stories as well. Anyways it was fascinating. So much more enlightening than talking to a 20-year-old gap year abroad.

Last night at the hostel there was a beyond amazing Bolivian culture show in the courtyard complete with music and dance. The colors of the costumes snapped through the air and the festive tunes spoke of a pre-colonial era. I was so impressed that this was being put on free in my hostel. Afterwords, the dance floor cleared and the DJ began playing a modern dance music mix. In drips and drabs the youngsters begin to groove their way onto the open floor. When the Spice Girls announced their presence it became a flood.

Watching this I got a sense of youth and vitality. A combination of remembering past moments and seeing everything right there in front of me with my own eyes. I had my first real glimpse of what it meant to get older and to revel in the exploits of the young.


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