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.
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.
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.
We continue Dad’s account of his perilous ascent up Mt Tunari. Here’s Part 1 if you missed it. Anyways, we’re half-way up… No sooner had I arrived than, of course, the others headed off, making a huge effort to appear to be enjoying the agony that no doubt they were all experiencing.
It looks like Magnum P.I. has opened the floodgates! Another guest Tale, this time from Dad, obviously reciprocating after many gracious, positive mentions on the site… For those who have never had the pleasure of climbing the famous Mt Tunari, at the end of the Cochabamba valley in Bolivia, I thought I would pen a few words to tell of our expedition some years back.
The first Camp I ever went to, at least the first I have any memories of, was Candelaria. The campsite was high in the hills far from Cochabamba, impenetrable from threats like marauding villagers, personal hygiene, or warmth. They named it Candelaria after a Virgin or someone that was seen nearby back in the day (they were always seeing virgins over there) or perhaps because calling it Stallag 18 would have been walking on well-trodden ground.