Odds and Ends Again

16 06 2009

Tonight, for the first time in 4 1/2 weeks, I listened to a Southern Gospel song.  My iPod had run down for some reason, and I charged it a while, plugged in the headphones, and on came Kirk, Ivan, and Anthony (The Trio) singing “Glory Road” (on an old Homecoming) that I’d downloaded not long ago.  WOW, that was pretty!  That’s probably the first time in my life I’ve gone so long without SG, and it wasn’t intentional.  It wasn’t the music that seemed extravagant here, but the iPod.  Besides, I was scared to take it out of the house, and I’ve been too busy to sit around inside.  That’s always my quandary when I ponder surviving on a desert island.  I could make it, I’m sure, but how to do so without SG music?  Solar- or handcrank-powered iPod recharger?

I’m feeling rotten again this evening.  It probably has something to do with being tired, but I still think the change in altitude figures in there somewhere.  I wanna go back to Sucre. 

I went to Paradise today.  It is about 7 km outside of Santa Cruz.  $7 taxi ride to arrive, $10 admission, and a $10 meal.  Then I split the taxi ride going back with a lady from England or somewhere that they use that accident.  The place actually seems to target (wealthy) Bolivians and Latin American tourists.  The tour sign-up shows relatively few Americans.  They raise butterflies, and have a butterfly house, a gigantic walk-through “bird cage” with sloths close enough you could touch them if you were stupid, and a look-out point high above the forest.  The orchid display point was pretty and attractive, but this is fall, and 99% of the orchids bloom in spring.  A couple from Cochabamba was doing the guided portion at the same time I was, and since they wanted their picture taken here and there, they reciprocated by taking mine.  I appreciated that.

Then I ate in their restaurant, despite the fact that $10-11 is horribly extravagant for a meal here.  They brought out a plate of bread that made me repent of ever having said derogatory things about bread in Bolivia, and then a plate with two steaks on it that made me think that either I or the waitress had misunderstood, because it was supposed to be fish.  And surely know fish can produce a steak that large.  These were from the Amazon, and they were good.  Along with fresh lemonade … what more can you ask?

I even took a 10-15 minute horseback ride, and looked across the water at the island where the monkeys roam undisturbed.  They had a ton of artificial pools there, all gorgeous, and rent out cabins to folks who can afford them.  That was when I started feeling harta, fed up with the luxury that most people can’t afford.  I have to ponder why it feels worse here.  When we’re far away from the poverty, does that make it better?  Is that why the park is situated so far outside the city, because if there were only a wall between us and them we would be bothered?  And is that why none of us are bothered in the US?  Because I don’t know of anyone that seems to be bothered in the US enough to abstain.  Evidently that is far enough away that it is OK.

Well, anyway.  I am living without a clock here.  One more thing I love about Bolivia.  I don’t need a clock.  Now and then I see one in or outside a shop, or when I’m online like this, or if it’s important I ask someone.  My cell phone only works as a clock when it has service, and I bought a watch in Sucre, but I lost it.  I know that the sun rises around 6:30 and sets around 6:00 or 6:30.  And it just doesn’t have to get too awful much more exact than that.  After living on a tight, tight schedule for so long, this is such a relief.  Four and a half weeks of this.  Telling the Magariños that I need to be at the orphanage at 3:00, and Finita saying, “Oh, it’s the orphanage; it doesn’t matter there,” and it being true.  Getting to church just before it starts at 10:00 and no one being there … Asking the time eventually of someone passing at 10:15 … Beginning to wonder if it really is Sunday … Finally Patricia arrives and wonders what’s wrong … And finally the pastor arrives and we all go in and have church till almost 1:00, and walk home, and who cares?

I repacked this afternoon, and I think I have room to pack in a couple or three more items.  They have the most wonderful little nativities here year round.  They’re tiny and all glued together like an ornament, and they have brown skin, and the camels suspiciously resemble llamas.  I have to have one … I didn’t get one in Sucre.

I’m going to go get a snack and then go to bed.  Who cares if it’s only 6:30 now?

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