Oh Bolivia, always surprising me!

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South America » Bolivia » Cochabamba Department » Cochabamba
November 12th 2012
Published: November 20th 2012
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After a while I thought I've seen it all. But no! I returned from the Salar de Uyuni trip on Tuesday morning around 10 am, took a shower, ate lunch and was ready to go to work. I stood at the usual corner waiting for a trufi when a cholita (the women living in cities, but dresses traditionally) came by and asked me if micro A was going to some place. I told her I didn't know and she said thank you. Then she walked like 5 steps away from me, pulled down her undies and started pissing in the middle of the street. She was no more than 2m away from me on a VERY lively street corner just urinating. Once she was done she pulled her undies up again and got on the next micro. I stood there completely shocked and could not believe what just happened. At work I had to tell Marie and she just laughed at me.

In the middle of the week there was, once again, a fiesta in my neighborhood. This time, however, the music was awesome that I wanted to get out of my bed and find the place to join them, but I was too tired. So I enjoyed the mix of traditional Bolivian music, old American classics and the finest of pop music (oppa gangnam style!).

Also a new volunteer, Mikkel from Denmark, joined the journalism force on Wednesday which made us three. Since my boss took her vacation it was up to Marie and I to introduce him to the workplace and show him how things are done (I'm not sure if we did a good job though). First thing we did was take him out on Thursday night as Marie wanted to write another review of a restaurant. We met at a place that didn't look too safe for gringo-stomachs and therefore decided to go somewhere else. Ariel, a Bolivian friend, took us on a ride with his dad's truck and we all sat in the back. It was a lot of fun and my friend suggested this time we should whistle at boys, just like they do when they ride in a car like that. But it was too dark to spot the pretty ones and we just enjoyed the ride.

After eating in a really nice place with some awesome food in a restaurant called "La Muelita" some of the other volunteers asked us to join them at a party at another volunteer organization. The thing was that we were quite a big group and actually just completely crashed a party, because most of the others were already leaving when we arrived and there were more volunteers from our organization than from the other one. Then a woman came by and was like: "I think this is a good time o wrap this up", so we left.

Friday we decided to explore Cochabamba a bit more. In the morning we went to Santa Theresa's convent a place with such strict rules in former days that even the Vatikan said it was inhumane and offered the nuns to go to a different place. Most of them decided to stay though as it was the only life they knew. they would come to the convent as young girls, their parents had paid an amount of approximately $150,000 (which was also supposed to ensure a place in heaven for the whole family) and were isolated from the outside world for the rest of their life. They were allowed to see their family once a month. Well, not really "to see". There were bars and a thick curtain seperating them, so they could only talk. Other than that they were allowed to speak to the other nuns only one hour per day and expected to pray pretty much the rest of the time. So yeah, that's just sick. Today there are still 8 nuns living there, but they are very old and there are no new ones joining the convent. The rules are still pretty strict, but not as bad as earlier.

After the convent we went to a German grocery store called "Super Haas" (though it sounds like "Super Hass" ("super hate")which is a very, very bad name for a German grocery store...). It turned out the store wasn't too German, most of the articles were American. I did, however, find Nutella, Schwartauer Marmelade (how cool is that? Produced like 20 minutes away from home), Riesen and Nimm2. So I was pretty happy. They also had Merci, Raffaello and Ferrero Rocher which I will get next time.

Then on Saturday it was Marie and Laura's last weekend in Cochabamba and they decided to throw a party! Everyone was supposed to dress as fancy as possible and so it took me quite a while to get ready. When I was finally all dolled up and ready to go out it started raining. Actually it was pouring, I never experienced such bad rain in Cochabamba. I called a taxi and they were like "Yeah, we'll be there in 10 minutes". Of course they were not! So I asked Mechi to call again and explain where they should go to. They said they'll be there in a second. They were not. After 30 minutes I asked her to call again. "Oh sorry, we don't have a taxi right now." Really? REALLY?! Why not tell me from the beginning instead of having me wait?

In the meantime I had gotten texts from my friend saying she can't get a taxi. So I told her I would pick her up once I get one. And I was supposed to pick up Mikkel, too. So I tried to call other taxi companies, but noone picked up. Mechi kept telling me I would have to stay home, but I told her that was the last thing I was doing that night. Finally I got to a taxi and told the driver Mikkel's address. He got into a street and told me that was it. I told him that's impossible, cause there is no tall gringo standing outside.

He insisted that was it, so I asked Mikkel to get to a street corner and I would make the driver go up and down the street until we found him (notice it was still raining). We found Mikkel 7 blocks up the street, but the driver still didn't want to admit he went to the wrong street. Next we picked up Carlein and since all this was too much stress for an evening I was told her I couldn't wait to drink our Tequila. She said she had forgotten it in her room, so we had to go back and get it. We finally arrived at the party one hour late and missed most of the cakes Marie had baked.

Still we had an awesome last weekend with them and when I finally arrived home late at night (or rather early in the morning) I slept like a dead person until Mechi knocked at my door to tell me we would go to lunch in like 10 minutes. That meant I had no time to shower and had to cover the disco smell with perfume. I ate at my hostuncles house and returned to my house afterwards, excited to finally take a shower (it was around 4pm). SURPRISE! There was no freaking running water, so I had to bum around for two more hours before finally being able to get clean again. What a weekend...

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