Monday, August 26, 2013

Making friends...

This morning we woke up and walked to get breakfast at the fancy breakfast place for foreigners. We had wonderful veggie omelets. It was one of the most expensive meals your can buy in Bolivia, but in the US, it would cost only $6.

It is shocking how extreme poverty is here. The walls of buildings are crumbling, hunched men beg for money, and women fall asleep on their bags of rice at the market while waiting for customers. The exchange rate in Peru was $1 to 2.8 soles. The exchange rate here in Bolivia, however, is $1 to 6.7 bolivianos. It's crazy to us that a three course meal could cost 12 bolivianos or less than $2, and yet so many people can't afford even that.

Ali pointed out that we have seen so many frugal tourists haggling with the locals over less than one American dollar. It's so sad that that amount of money is so meaningless to Americans, and yet tourists underpay the Bolivians because they feel like it means they have gotten a better deal...

After breakfast, we walked to the same markets as yesterday and I finally found the perfect alpaca sweater! Ali also bought a gift for her sister Rachel and a skirt for herself.


Around 2, we met up with a free tour offered by our hostel. We learned about the crazy prison here when prisoners can pay off the guards to have a night out on the town. We also walked through the witch's market, where they sold dead llama fetuses that supposedly bring good luck during the construction of buildings. Right before the witch's market, we walked through Little Tel Aviv. The guide only briefly mentioned that part of the city, so we can only assume that it's where Holocaust refugees went during the war. There are still signs there that are written in Hebrew, and stores with Israeli names.

Later on in the evening we went out to dinner at an Indian place with a group of people from the hostel. One girl is traveling by herself for a year and a half! That's such a long time! I didn't think the food was terrible, though it wasn't as good as Indian food in America.

A couple of our friends had spent the day motobiking across mountains and volcanoes. They said it was amazing, until one of the guys toppled straight over the side of the cliff. We saw pictures... The bike had tumbled really far down the cliff. Luckily, the guy came out of it totally unscathed, and was even able to get the bike back up and running (though it looked totaled to me). Crazy! We have no intention of motobiking or even biking down "death road," which is apparently the steepest, craziest road in the world. 

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