dai volontari

Know It, Accept It, Enjoy It (part 2)

By Estefania Monsorno

3) Altitude means hungry.

So, after the soup (based on rice, potato, eggs, meat and, obviously, chicken) and the main dish (that comes with rice, potato, eggs, meat and, obviously, chicken) you would go for a dessert, no matter if it includes rice, potato, eggs, meat or chicken.

4) no fourth dimension in South America.

Or, else wise, when a European says “Time is a relative notion” he doesn’t have any idea of what he is talking about. Once I found myself sat on the bus for 4 hours, just to visit a city that, I was told, should have been “close to Sucre”.

Wait is the answer at any problem here, where the nearest city is three hours far (when the bus doesn’t fail, which can happen, I swear) and tell the opening hours is no more than kindness. When they say “ahorita”, for example, they don’t mean “now” at all. “Ahorita” means “as soon as I can” as much as “quiet down and just hope that I don’t forget you while I am doing something else”. You never know. They never know.

There are no timetables for the buses and no way to know if you would be able to buy some bread before going to school. Spending a night on the bus is just habit when you travel (and you can be happy if the destination is far enough for you to have a decent rest).

I will never complain again if I would have to spend a couple of hour on a train to visit my friends or to wait another couple for the train is late (Italians know what I am talking about), I am totally sure about it.

5) Never trust Bolivians. Either when they are the sellers in the market, the bus drivers or your neighbor, do not trust them. I mean, they are mostly very kind and often they really try anything to be helpful. And this is the very problem, actually. They want to help you so hard that they do it even if they don’t know how, ignoring that sometimes admit that, simply, they don’t know is the easiest, safest way to truly help. So, when you ask the direction to someone that doesn’t know the street that you are looking for you would possibly hang around all the afternoon before that you find the one that would tell you that you are exactly in the opposite side of the city. Better if you ask twice, to more than one. And still, don’t surprise yourself when it turns out different. Once we have been looking for almost an hour for a restaurant that, they told us, is really nice. We walked the village up and down, reviewing every single street, going right and left as the residents fancy. We didn’t find the place and at last, almost starving, we went for a sandwich. I am pretty sure that that restaurant doesn’t exist. Anyway, when you are the one who is looking for a place (or whatever), can you blame the others when they don’t know it, too?

There are many things to say about Bolivia (the best still has to be told), I choose those 5 because I wanted to focus on what I found weird as an European, things that at the beginning bother and now I just laugh at.

And, after all, didn’t I come here to learn and face situations that I didn’t know how to face before? Here I am.

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