South America | Bolivia – The Yellow Brick Road and Other Ailments
Hola Viajeros! Well somewhere along the line I picked a most stubborn little flu bug and he did his best to make life on the road just shy of unbearable. Unfortunately that is part of the ride and sooner or later it bites no matter how careful you may try to be. These are the times when you can really miss your own bed, a remote control with a hundred odd channels of mindless entertainment, and a pizza service that delivers 24 hours a day !
Yes, home is a very tempting thought when you are not feeling up to par and in these moments the country you are in is usually the last place on Earth you would like to be. The sidewalks suddenly fill with people that don’t seem to have any other purpose than to block your path. Streets grow loud and impassable and exhaust fumes threaten to render you unconscious before reaching your destination.
Once you do arrive (if you were feeling better you might actually be proud of the accomplishment) you ask for that lifesaving roll of toilet paper and a bottle of water and the man quotes you a price 3 times the normal rate. You struggle not to explode on the opportunist remembering that haggling is a form of social interaction and nothing to get riled about. This doesn’t work and before completely losing your patience you offer to pay a fair price, letting just a hint of your agitation curve out of the last syllables. He smiles, enjoying the game, and tells you it was a bad year for toilet paper production.
At this point you try to remember where the next little store is while flashes of crowded sidewalks and choking exhaust dance through your fevered mind. Then you think of your local convenience store around the corner from your house and you cherish the fact that all of those wonderful little products come complete with a price tag that completely illiminates the cultural interaction you are now having.
And then just as the man realizes you are about to faint in his shop, inevitably making his day more complicated than a commodities market that determines the going rate of toilet paper in Bolivia, he agrees to a fair price. With your faith in humanity fully restored, you stumble back into the crowds and make your way back to the hotel room.
Arrival is sweet but you no longer have the energy to crawl to the toilet so you sink into the crevasse that forms between the wiry springs of the matress clicking your heels and silently repeating ‘there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…’
Fortunately Aunty Em and Toto weren’t hovering over me when I woke and I was actually quite glad that I was still in Oz. (for those of you that don’t know the film ‘The Wizard of Oz’ forgive me !) I still don’t know what lies at the end of the yellow brick road but now that I am back on my feet it is only a matter of time.
Entonces, hasta luego !