I sat enjoying the sunshine in the Plaza de Armas of Sucre, Bolivia. An elderly man joined me on my bench and offered me a bite of his ice cream. I declined with a smile, he offered again and again, shifting the cone closer and closer to my mouth. This continued for a good ten minutes.
Later that day I asked an English speaking tour guide whether there was some sort of cultural explanation for this baffling exchange. He nearly fell off his chair laughing..
I met a British guy on a bus across the high plateau. We chatted, swapped stories of home. I asked him what had brought his to Bolivia since he’d barely left the UK before. He replied softly that since his experience of an alien abduction he’d been trying to better understand the links between their people and ours and a tour of the world’s ancient classifications seemed like a good place to start.
In La Paz I stayed with a wonderful Bolivian man who shared his house and his thoughts with wonderful careless abandon, not minding too much that I was just another dusty backpacker traipsing through his home. One day as he cooked me breakfast, he explained that having tried both pets and marriage, he’d found that in practice cats were even harder to deal with than wives..
Having been berated inexplicably and at great length in Spanish by one hostel owner for being a ‘dirty, dirty girl’, I made a sharp exit and checked into another place just down the street. I had to laugh when I found myself thinking my $7 a night room was something really classy on the basis that the bathroom had both toilet paper and soap!
I met a handsome Argentinian selling jewelry in the street in La Paz. I guessed he must be from somewhere else because I had to look up (for the first time in many months) to talk to him!
My favourite worst tourist trap of the trip so far was a visit to a quarry with dinosaur tracks. Despite adverts showing tourists in jolly yellow hard hats looking at the tracks on the quarry wall, in reality you could only look from 200 metres off, and had to pay extra for binoculars. There were however a comedy variety of large plastic dinosaurs painted in garish colours.
I couldn’t quite make out whether they thought the human or the plastic monster was at most risk but took great pleasure in breaking the rules at every opportunity…