Last Day in Bolivia – Again

17 06 2009

Well, for the second time I have lived my last day in Bolivia.  It wasn’t so sentimental this time (if I must use that word), because I had already cut the ties to Sucre, and I haven’t had time to form new ones here. 

I got my bags all packed (again) this morning.  Oh, and there was the most beautiful “artesanal” walkway with the most delightful little shops, so I finished my gift shopping and shopping for myself again a couple of times and fit that in my luggage.  I think it fits better than it did when I left Sucre, though.  It just bothers me that there are some breakables. 

After that, I went looking for the street from which I was to take the bus to get to the zoo.  By the time I had shopped, and withdrew some money, and packed, and settled my account with the hostal, and arranged for them to so kindly keep my luggage till this evening, and wandered toward this street for some time, it was time to find a place to eat.  I spent less money today on food. 

I didn’t want to pass the zoo without seeing it on the micro.  So I asked the lady behind me after some time, and she pointed it out to me when it was time to get off.  I wouldn’t have missed it after all, but I didn’t know.  It had a lot of interesting things, but they had a construction project going on that blocked people from seeing about a fourth of it, it seemed to me.  Of course, the zoo at home is one of the best in the US, so it’s not quite fair to compare this one to that.  There were a lot of good features that I liked, and when you consider it only cost me about a dollar to get in, it was definitely worth the trouble.

Then I asked someone which bus to take back downtown, got off in a small mercado (market) and wandered through that a while … and I was so tired.  I came back to the central plaza and sat down for a while.  An older man (well, white-haired, but not necessarily past late 60s) sat down on the same bench after a while, and he was talking to a younger friend.  The friend eventually addressed me with, “¿La señora habla español?” (Does the señora speak Spanish?)  I have gained enough confidence, if nothing else, in the last month to answer “.”  He talked to me for a while, and then left me with the older friend, and I guess he must have talked to me for over an hour.  I know his whole life history … and it was interesting, too.  His accent was different, although he’s from Santa Cruz.  (He drops final s’s and s’s before consonants, for those of you who’ve studied Spanish linguistics.  That isn’t supposed to happen in Bolivia, I don’t think, but it does with a lot of the people in Santa Cruz.)  I so enjoyed getting to talk to him.  I hadn’t got to know anyone here at all, or to practice Spanish a lot.  Though this was mostly listening practice, with me just getting “the gist of it” in places. 

He asked me if I was sure of my flight tonight.  Then he said that if I couldn’t make the flight, he was going to be in the plaza after around 9:00, and I was to look for him if anything went wrong, because la amistad vale algo … friendship is worth something.  And we were friends, weren’t we, after an hour of talking?  He tried to talk me into saving up $10,000, moving to Bolivia where I would be well off with that, setting up – I think a hotel, saving money, falling in love with someone “productive,” and living happily ever after in Bolivia.  He was perfectly happy, he said, having saved up enough to run a turkey farm, and a little house, and talking to his friends every night in the plaza.  What more could he want from life, he wanted to know.  It seemed like half the people that went by knew him.  And when I left and crossed the square to eat something, I think I had made a lot of friends just by virtue of sitting there and nodding at the folks who greeted him during that hour.  There were several people who gave me a friendly greeting.

So don’t I need a couple of weeks more in Santa Cruz to take advantage of that?

Actually, I don’t want things to drag out any longer.  This has been a great opportunity that I’ve tried to take advantage of, but I am going from here to withdraw money, for the last time, to cover the departure tax, and then get a taxi to take me and my luggage  to the airport.  They told me to arrive at 8:00.  The flight leaves at 11:00.  (I’m an hour ahead of KS time here.)

I discovered ice cream helped my feeling bad last night.  Hey, what better solution can there be than that?  Maybe it’s the heat.  Some premonition made me look at KS weather today, and I’m definitely going back to Sucre.  It’s around 100º, I understand.  And I’m sitting here by the window in the internet café with a cool breeze blowing in.  Well, anyway.  I made sure to eat an ice cream treat a couple of times this afternoon.  😀 

I guess it’s time to get off of here.  Thanks for reading … Maybe we can do this again some time.  Or if anyone is interested in taking a vacation to Bolivia, I know someone who would be glad to go as an interpreter and not even charge anything.

¡Un abrazo! (A hug!)

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