Chapter 34::Table of Contents::Chapter 36

Chapter 35
Cochabamba

WED APR 4,

N poured over new pack info from my dad. I wrote a letter to Myrt.

We went to lunch at the Pension. After the customary wait in the park we went off to claim my jeans. The procedure was similar to the one in Quito. 5 or 6 functionaries all had to put 3 rubber stamps and a signature on a 16x20 form in 8-plicate. The jeans were duly inspected and were worth $17. The postage was $8.68 the duty charge is another $13... What? N had to do some fast talking to get the duty down to a mere $3. “Have to keep the Gringos happy” said the customs man. [1] The real test will be $100 worth of film.

We stopped in a bookstore and got a TIME mag. We came back to the house, toked, read, and listened to the two tapes John had sent N. lots of good John Hartford & John Pryne. [2] Tia & Maria Inez didn’t come home ’til late. Tia was tired so we went over and ate chorripanes. Came back to the house & relaxed.

Thurs APR 5.

Went to lunch with Marcello, his wife and son. We ate chorrizos and N ate Marcello’s Fricassee. Then Marcello took us over to the Pension where we were just in time to eat lunch again with Marta, Mari & Carlos.

I went to the P.O. after lunch. I got a card from Maureen. I met N & Tia in the park. We saw a bicycle go by with 1 guy and 3 kids sitting on its frame, seat, & fender. “A collectivo” said Tia. I wrote in these notes all afternoon, sitting outside on the patio in the rocking chair, smelling the flowers, hearing the birds & bees.

After dinner Marcello took N, Carlos, Mari, Marcello JR., and me up to the top of a nearby hill to watch the jet come in. The vantage point was perfect as the jet flew right in front of us. The landing lights blinked off and the show was over. I came back to write and N reviewed pack material again. We had planned to call LaC but the airplane landing shorted that one out.

FRI APR 6.

Wash day today. The washer lady came and we had a pile for her to do. She thinks she can sell my used jeans.

I sat out in the patio and read Magic Mtn. all morning. Did the lunch routine at the Pension. I checked for mail from Hec. Nothing. N had to run all over town ’til he finally found a place that would cash his Traveller’s Cheques. We’ll need money for the market tomorrow. [3]

On the way back to the house we ran into Leslie. They were still in town because they think Amy has hep. Leslie had to go to the Immigration to get her renewed passport. We came back to the house and partied. Just before sunset we walked to the Archaeological park just across the river. Leslie went home but told us to go to the Plaza Colon to look for toot. We ate chorripanes for dinner again tonight. Nothing cooking at the Plaza colon.

We walked down to ENTEL to call MN. It was an hour wait. While sitting there a fellow came up and asked if I spoke English. He then proceeded to secure the employ of N & Myself to proof read his recent English work. SR. Guzman. Guz would call us on Monday.

The calls went thru, finally. Mine was 1st. Nobody home. Then N. He had given the people the wrong # ! He’s always confusing Mpls' area code - 612, with Duluth’s - 218. He put 612. We didn’t want to wait another hour for another call so we split.

As we walked out of the office we met Carlos. He was going somewhere on his moto. N & I walked up to the Jamaica Sidewalk cafe. We sat right on the curb, almost, and drank beer. Soon Carlos “Cacho” came along and we were playing Cacho with Cacho. We threw the magic dice and drank.

SAT APR 7,

Despite last nites drinking we got up relatively early and went off to the market. [4]

We strolled thru and found little in the line of sweaters. I came back to a lady [5] and bought a poncho - like thing for Deb. N bought a poncho for himself. I saw one that caught my eye and bought it. N then wanted to buy a vest. He hadn’t enough money. We caught a taxi back to the house. I ripped the nifty green fringe off my poncho while N went back to the market.

I went back out and met N & Mari at Foto Broadway. With Tia we all went out to the Pension. With Carlos we all took a taxi back to the house. Gonzalo came by later in the afternoon and took us up to Taqueña beer factory. I thought we were going to see the factory but all we saw was the restaurant. Gonz. went back to get the rest of the family. N & I played cacho with Monica, Gonz. wife, and Mari Inez. The little kids of Gonz & Mon were watched over by the Indian maid.

Soon Gonzalo returned with Marcello, wife, & Tia. We all ordered more beer and then dinner. Remind me not to order duck any more. We all played more cacho and drank more beer. Monica wanted to go out dancing but Gonz. had to study. She said she’d go out with us (N & I). We were ferried back down to town. We stopped at a couple places to go dancing or make reservations. I came back to the house and the others were to go out dancing in an hour. I declined on account of drunkenness. N went anyway and wound up dancing with Monica ’til 5AM.

SUN APR 8.

The family had to go to a wedding today. The guy from next door lent them his flash so they could take pics.

N & I walked to the arch. park again and took some more photos. We also photo’d the kiddie park nearby. Back at the house, N changed into his long pants and we walked off to the Pension, family or no. We ate lunch alone. After lunch we walked around looking for L & A’s house. We found it but nobody was home. L had said something about going water skiing today. We walked back to the house and met the returned family there.

In the evening we went out to the theatre production "Stratojet 991" A supposed 1st in Bolivian theatre. The plot was simple, a jet takes off from Cbba to Panama with a full soap opera crew. In flight they experience shock waves and a tele dispatch that Nuclear War had befallen the surface of the Earth. They fly in helpless panic as the radio man tries desperately to contact some remnant of humanity. He manages to reach a spaceship from another planet which directs him to the only habitable land left on Earth - "Hope Island". The crew lands safely and embark upon their Brave New World. Heavy.

After the production we walked over to the Moulin Rouge for dinner. We had some good cuts of meat. We played puzzles with Cacho. We took a taxi back to the house. N took C’s moto over to see on L & A. They weren’t home but he said for them to meet us at 6AM for a hike to the Pyramid.

MON APR 9.

We didn’t quite make it up at 5:30.

We didn’t feel too bad about not making it out to meet L & A because we were sure they hadn’t made it either. After breakfast we walked over to their house but they had gone to the doctor. So we decided to hitch down the road to Chapari and see what we could see. About 7 or 8 k down the road we saw an inviting bluff near the road. We’d gotten a ride with an empty dump truck. We banged on the roof and got out.

We hiked toward the hill, crossed the stream, and switch-backed our way up the hill. I wore my flour sack hat. We reached the top of one part and began to transverse over. I had the whole camera bag which swung around a little too much for successful climbing. I transversed 1 less gully than N and headed down. I wound up meeting him at a stream bed at the bottom. He’d only waited a minute or so. We sat in the shade and toked. Back on the road we got a ride with a gravel truck filled with stones. He took us into town.

Back at the house N went off to check on mail. There was a note in the gate from Leslie apologizing for not making it this morning. She said she’d drop by later. N got back with the long awaited letter from Hector. Good results. Film on the way. We also got a letter from Anne & Eve in Guat. They had a good time in Colombia. I got a letter from Grandma M. Then Leslie came by. We showed her our photos, got high, and heard the latest. Amy does have hep. They were at the doctor today. We told L to meet us at 6 tomorrow for the Pyramid. She agreed.

The family came home. We wanted to try and call MN again so we went to ENTEL and waited the hour watching the asses of the female callers. The calls went thru, nobody home again in LaC. N got thru to Duluth. No new earth shaking news. We were starved, having only eaten bread for breakfast, a couple salteñas on the way to the hill and nothing else. We went to the Pio Pio broasted chicken place and ordered chicken, fries, & beer. It was good. Then off to chorripanes for a nite cap. Back at the house we settled and retired. [6]

TUES APR 10.

Got up at 5:30 and made it to the Puente Calla Calla at 6.

No Leslie. Toked in the traffic circle park. Walked to her house but didn’t knock. Back at the Puente, we caught a cab to the foothills of the mtns. Cost 80P. We started walking up the road. Zig-zagged up the hill. The taxi let us off at km 11/2. We walked up to km 12 and then got a ride. The guy took us up past km 25 (it would have been a long walk) where we got out with another fellow who lived nearby. We were at the top of the road.

We walked up into a little valley surrounded by peaks. The fellow chewed some leaves with us and told us that the pyramid was just over the ridge. He went the other way and we started climbing. We switchbacked up the steep grade on llama trails. We even saw one near the top. Once up on the ridge we saw several outcroppings of rocks off in the distance besides the Pyramid. We walked over to the Pyramid but didn’t climb it. Instead we walked over to one of the other peaks our “guide” had told us we would see a laguna from. Indeed we could! A most remarkable view. The eroded, stratified, tilted landscape showed itself perfectly. This was an enchanting place.

On our way back down we encountered 1st a young Indian shepherdess who trotted down the hill away from us, and 2nd her herd of llama & sheep. The llamas were beautiful. N got many shots with the normal + tele X. We used up all the rest of our film on these beauts.

We followed the road back down for a while but then started cutting out the switch backs. We went almost straight down, over gravel roadsides into overgrown loose rock llama trails, or down washed out gullies. We cut much distance and time out of our downhill hike. Once at the bottom, hot and with quaking knees, we got a ride with a dump truck filled with big stones. After scrambling over them all day, we rode part way into town with them. The truck let us off still a good 5 k from town. We caught a bus in for 4 P. We made it back to the house just before sunset.

The family came home a bit later with pizza. We snarfled it down, having eaten nothing but leaves all day. Then N went off to check on Leslie. He came back with the good news, she had hep. too. Carlos had a friend who wanted to take N & I to Chapari on Thurs. He had 2 women to go along and needed another. Leslie was our only possibility.

N & I then went to chorripanes to fill up. The guy knows us by now and gives us double meat and lots o’ mustard. [7]

WED APR 11,

A morning of relaxation.

I wrote a letter to Hector. About 12 Marcello came by and took us over to his house for lunch. We listened to some good native music on the headphones. Had lunch of chicharones, moté, and lots of beer. We met his little daughter. [8] He took us to the P.O. No new mail.

We walked back to the house. Marcello was to come by and take us to the university. N played on his guitar (Carlos’s) all afternoon. He’s now doing his new songs (thanks to the tape) over and over. Carlos came home early, Marta came home with Marcello & his daughter. She cooked us dinner of hard fried eggs, rice, & greasy fr. fries.

We were going to call the U.S. but I didn’t feel well. The guy with the ride to Chapari was to come by tonight, he didn’t. I read and finished Magic Mtn. while N, Tia, Carlos, Marcello, & Mari all sat in the living room and talked. Tia, Carlos, & Mari are all going to Sucre tomorrow. N & I were to go to Chapari but I won’t be disappointed if we don’t.


[1] The whole thing took 1 ½ hours.

[2] The other was classical.

[3] We looked for old postcards for Maureen. Not there any more at the antique shop.

[4]

180 for Deb

400 for me

400 for N

120 for N

[5] Busy with yarn sellers at 1st

[6] Guz had called several times about the proof reading. He’d try tomorrow.

[7] Guz called while we were out.

[8] Marcello & Carlos went off somewhere. No university tour.

Chapter 34::Table of Contents::Chapter 36