By Estefania Monsorno
Let me talk about Bolivia in 5 sentences (and their explanations):
1. We are still alive (the first weeks we told it each other so many times that soon it became a state of mind, our Mantra). I live at the end of a long, grey walkway, in a private room with private bathroom and a nice view of the private room with private bathroom in front of mine, everything in such a lovely grey. There is no wifi, but neither there was a kitchen the first month and an half. Then one learns to appreciate the essential. I live at 3000 meter high, with the traffic’s noise as soundtrack, in a city where the street’s code is as the jungle’s rule, the only God is the horn and the zebras are meant only as ornament (just so the street is not ever so boring black). But you know what? The black, tight smog of the old buses made in China still didn’t kill us.
2) If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.
The food, for example. The most traditional neighborhood of every Bolivian city is the Market, which is also the place where you can easily find whatever you are looking for (even if you thought that it would have still to be invented) and get it cheap (mostly. When you are smart enough to realize when the seller is trying to foolish you). You go in the market whenever you look for fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese, bread, soap, pots and kitchen’s tools, clothes and, long story short, everything you need (and what you don’t). The market is a masterpiece of colors and noises and also the flies’ paradise. Meat, cheese, the awesome creamy cakes (that look better than any birthday cake that you ever had) are left to them, big, black, annoying insects that fly all around and land here and there every now and then.
Anyway, you pay a whole meal (starter, main dish and sometimes also the drink) less than a mobile’s recharge and you can find food all over the city. This is how it goes: one day a Bolivian wakes up and decide that his living room doesn’t serve anymore, so he arranges it with some plastic tables and there you are: a new restaurant. When you don’t have enough time to sit and eat (or you are on a bus going to somewhere) you can easily get a “pocket lunch” in handles plastic bags (I mean it, Bolivian’s love eat meat or drink fruit juices from weary plastic bags. And you can tell it from the landscape, actually).
The point is, if you get me, the hygienic norms aren’t often respected and possibly you would be required to spend some weeks in your amazing private room with private bathroom (and thank God!) just because you wasn’t wise enough to wash that apple twice. But even though, we are still alive (tinier, but alive).
To be continued