The grass is always greener on the other side on the fence. This was especially true of Cochabamba, in relation to our neighbouring city in the lowlands: Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz literally did have grass that was greener, because our grass was dust. It was also factually accurate and scientifically proven that: 1) the girls were prettier in Santa Cruz, 2) the food tasted better, 3) everyone had more money, 4) it was always warm and humid so shirts were optional.
Well, since I never get off my butt to do some writing, the internets have come to my aid. Jason Kliewer, ex-Bolivian resident of murky repute, has decided to pen something for MK Tales. Enjoy! Leave comments of praise and adulation for brave Jason below. “So, Jason, did you have any intestinal trouble, such as diarrhea, during your year in Bolivia?”
A quintessential part of any young kid’s upbringing is the sleepover. Technically, it should be transcribed “Sleep: Over” since it’s the termination of any sleep for a good 24 hours, including that of Mum & Dad and any neighbourhood dogs. I had a great many sleepovers with a great many people, although now as I type it out it all sounds a little Bond film-ish.
Like the rest of you, I learned to drive with an insane Bolivian Taxi Driver on cobblestone streets on the side of a mountain. Right? Anyone? In my high school years, since my father was the principal and could pretty much do whatever he wanted, he started an electives course so I could get my driver’s license.
“Were Dead,” said my brother’s hastily typed text message, replete with poor grammar. “Check your Email. We’re dead!” I tapped the mail icon on my iPhone and into my inbox jumped a new message from one of the country’s largest Diabetes organisations. It said if we didn’t take our website offline within 12 hours, they’d be pursuing the matter further with the courts.
Lately I thought I’d re-emmerse myself one of the best TV shows of all time: the X-Files. When I was young I loved the X-Files more than Cindy Crawford and Magnum P.I. combined. I was drawn back in recently because I saw Gillian Anderson play Miss Havisham in a BBC production of Great Expectations.
MK Tales couldn’t exist without Bolivian stories obviously, but those stories couldn’t happen without a little prefacing. To prepare me for the onslaught of emotions and out-of-body experiences that comes with living in a
3rd World Country Developing Nation, my parents gave me all the practice I needed in Molong.
One of the best things about Bolivia was the holidays. We got time off school everytime there was a riot, or a change of government, or on days of the week ending in ‘es’. The best Bolivian holiday of all though, was San Juan. I’ll state the obvious and guess Saint John was the day’s namesake, but I have no idea who he was or what he did.
Almost more harrowing than being flung out the door of the pre-WWII plane into the dust of some obscure foreign country is what is commonly known in the industry as re-insertion:* returning to live in one’s country of origin after many years in some glorious foreign land that only made it onto the world map in the past 2 decades.
At every school there has always existed the expanse separating the cool kids from the losers. The dividing wall constructed from perfect DNA and wealthy parents, segregating the Rob Lowes and Tom Cruises of the world from the pond scum. I was wedged firmly in the latter camp, with nary a chance of ever migrating to the former.
I realise I’ve let the team down somewhat, in that I haven’t covered in detail much of Bolivia’s other cities and locales of interest. Obviously, I won’t start today, but at least a couple will get a mention. A few years in, on yet another one of Dad’s character-building exercises, we endured a family trip to Sucre and Potosí.