Autumn’s Adventures


Bolivia! The good, the bad and the ugly…
November 30, 2008, 10:14 am
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For those who don’t know, this past weekend I had to go to Bolivia to get my passport stamped because I’m here only on a tourist visa.  I am allowed to stay in a country for 90 days on a tourist visa, then I have to go into another country to get my passport stamped, then I can return.
On Friday night at around 7pm I headed to Gabi´s negocio with my bag of essentials (water, sweatshirt, toothbrush, deoderant).  We headed to the bus station at 7:30 and bought our tickets to Pocitos (near Yacuiba, the city in Bolivia where we were going).  We decided to go to Yacuiba instead of Villason because Gabi wanted to go to her brujo so he could tell her what her future had in store for her. Normally when Argentine’s go to Bolivia they go to Villason for shopping.  Since I really wanted her to go with me to Bolivia I said it didn´t matter where we went in Bolivia and I told her all I wanted to do was shop.  She told me there was a ton of shopping so I was down like a clown for Yacuiba.  I paid for our bus tickets, the tickets to Yacuiba were more expensive than Villason but whatever.  It’s like a difference of $10 for me.
The bus left at 12am and arrived in Pocitos at 6:30am.  It was actually 5:30 in Bolivia so there was really nothing for us to do at that hour.  We went through the Aduana and I got a stamp. I thought, this was pretty easy, they didn´t ask me any questions.  So we walk into Bolivia and head for migración but there was a huge line and the people in line said we only need to go through migración when we were leaving so we grabbed a taxi and headed for the brujo´s house.
We got there and it was this one level house with an open courtyard in the center and a bunch of bedrooms surrounding the courtyard.  There were probably 5 different families living in there. They all shared the kitchen and the common spaces.  For some reason Gabi made me wait in the courtyard while she had her fortune told. I wanted to watch and was super bored out there all by myself. There were tons of dogs and chickens and cats (and a parrot) in the courtyard and flies kept attacking me.  After about an hour of sitting there I was dying of boredom and starting to get hungry.  I didn´t realize it was going to take so long.
Then two boys my age came out of one of the bedrooms and starting coming towards me asking me questions and I couldn´t understand them. When they realized I was from America they were all up in my face. One gave me his grape jello cup even though I told him I didn´t want it. He also tried to get my phone number and give me a kiss on the lips. All in like 5 minutes. I kept saying “no entiendo” even though I understood.  Finally they left me alone and Gabi looked out the window at me and started laughing at the whole situation.  About 15 minutes after that she finally invited me in to watch her and the brujo.  We ended up staying there for another hour and then we left.
I couldn´t understand anything the brujo said. His name is Chinela.  At the end Gabi was like “do you want to ask him anything?” but actually she said “do you want him to throw the coca leaves for you” which is how he reads the future (“Tira la coca?”). I said sure and asked him about my love life and if I was going to find love and happiness in Argentina.  I mean what the hell else do you ask a brujo?  I’m only interested in the juicy stuff.  I didn´t understand a WORD that he said to me but Gabi explained to me later that yes I will find love here.  She said right now there is someone but he is not necessarily the person that i will fall in love with, but she also said she was not sure because she too found it hard to understand what the brujo was saying. She said I would meet someone else and he would have good intentions and that i would stay in AR for about a year and a half and then go back to the states but return shortly after…and keep doing that over and over again.  So we´ll see. I don´t really believe in fortune tellers but it was fun to try it out.
After we left the brujo´s house we went to find breakfast.  I was starving and it was about 8:30 in the morning. We went to this hotel and had coffee and bizcochos with marmalade.  I told Gabi that I was still hungry and she teased me about american breakfasts being so large.  Seriously though I don’t know how they can survive on biscuits and coffee for hours.  I didn´t eat anything else until right before we got on the bus at 6pm. AWFUL! I don´t know how I survived…
After breakfast we started shopping and I asked Gabi where all of the latin american shops were…like the stuff the natives make. She told me there were only 2 stores like that and that all the shops sold american stuff: moda, zapatos, electronics…etc.  THE WHOLE FREAKING town sold this stuff so I had nothing to buy.  I wasn´t in the mood to try on shoes and I definitely didn´t want any clothes because I knew they wouldn´t fit me.  It sucked because I really was hoping to buy some awesome Bolivian things and I only bought one tiny little colored wicker box for my hair pins.  Gabi bought a few things for her negocio.
After we walked through the whole town we sat down on a bench for a while and then decided to find a hotel to sleep in for a few hours because we were so exhausted and had nothing to do.  We found a place that let us sleep in the room for 32 pesos.  Split down the middle that was only 5 dollars for me. Pretty sweet deal.  It came with 2 single beds, towels and soap.  We slept for about 3 hours and then washed up with the soap and towels. Then Gabi realized that we didn´t have much time left because she remembered that we had to leave at 6pm in Argentina time, not Bolivian time.  That gave us about 2.5 hours until we needed to catch the bus.  I was hungry (as always) and she wanted to go back to the brujo´s house to give him saludos. Why she didn´t just do that when we left i dont´know….anyway we found a taxi and headed to his house but they were all sleeping so we went there for nothing.  We walked through the shops for a little longer and then we got to migraciones to claim our purchases.
We go up to the counter and Gabi shows her document/ID and she is free to leave. I show them my passport and they say, first of all, where is your entry stamp? Apparently when I got that first stamp it was for LEAVING Argentina and not entering Bolivia.  No wonder it was so easy!  Secondly, they asked me where my visa was for Bolivia.  APPARENTLY Americans need a visa for Bolivia and it costs the same amount as a visa for Brasil. WHOOPS.  So Gabi fought with them because she felt it was her fault for being ignorant and telling me that it was fine to go to Bolivia because her Spain and Holland friends had no problems and didn’t need to pay but in all reality it was my fault for not checking about a visa.  I didn´t even think twice about checking on that.  Stupid me.  The visa is ONLY for Americans because our stupid government charges every other country a visa so in turn they all charge us a visa.  Anyway, I only had less than $100 dollars in pesos in my bag but I had my debit card and credit card.  I had to take out money and we had to go all the way back to Yacuiba for the only ATM.  It was a race against the clock because it was about 5:30 Argentina time and our bus was leaving at 6pm.  Also I had to get my photo taken for some reason so I went and got that done. I had a really sad looking face in the photo because i was so stressed. It was funny.  We also had to get photocopies made of my credit card and passport and I had to fill out a visa form. We barely made the bus and still hadn´t eaten.  While Gabi got the tickets I went to find food because we wouldn´t have food for 8 hours on the bus and I was not about to survive only on bizcochos.  I bought 2 migas (sandwiches with ham, cheese and mayo), 2 bananas, one huge Sprite and 2 bags of papas fritas.  The bananas were gross so we didn´t eat them but the rest would have to hold us over.

When we got back to Gabi´s house at 2:30 in the morning we decided that we wanted to go out. We rushed to get showered and dressed and then we headed to La Vieja Violeta (a bar) to meet up with her friends.  I liked the bar but had a hard time understanding anything because her friends were from Spain and they speak with a lisp. I´m glad I didn´t choose Spain to learn spanish because I think it sounds really ugly.  Her friends were nice and they had 2 hot guy friends with them as well from Jujuy. I think those guys probably liked the girls from Spain so I didn´t try to put on the moves.  At 5am we left the VV and headed to Babylonia to drink more. I ran into a raging socialist there and he wouldn´t leave me alone. I hate talking politics here. its really lame. Apparently he bothered everyone else at the table as well so we all got up and went to another place in the bar and talked for a while then we left.

What a weekend!



Rain, Sweat and Bugs
November 24, 2008, 10:23 am
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It is raining really hard tonight and for the first time since I arrived here I saw lightning as well.  Despite the rain it is still hot as hell in my bedroom.  I’m finding it hard to go to sleep because of this but also because I am trapped in my room with a mosquito and a really annoying fly.  I hate both of these bugs with all of my being.  Just knowing that they are in the room with me makes me feel dirty and itchy all over.  These bugs are so small yet they seem to occupy so much of my personal space.  It is currently 2am and I am far from falling alseep.  I do enjoy listening to the rain pouring down the side of the house though it isn’t providing much of a breeze and as I lay here suffocating under my sheets with the door wide open and the window wide open I am still sweating profusely cursing the damned insects that are holding me captive in my own bed.  Maybe I’ll get a full hour of sleep tonight. Just maybe…



El Sol and a bit of boredom.
November 23, 2008, 10:19 am
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If there is one thing I love about staying out all night dancing is to be able to watch the sunrise the following morning.

I’m growing tired of my weekend routine.  Every Friday I go to La Peluqueria and every Saturday I go to Akropolis.  Every. Single. Weekend.  I want to change it up a bit but there really aren’t very many options and my friends don’t like many other places in town.   I wish there was more of a variety.  Luckily I am going to break the cycle next weekend because I have to go to Bolivia.  Maybe when I return I will try to find a new place or do something different.



I need a calendar
November 20, 2008, 10:18 am
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I am a freaking idiot.  These past few days I have been freaking out about going to Bolivia because I thought I needed to go this weekend but I don’t.  I was all worked up about it and completely worried because Gabi #1 said she would go with me but then said she couldn’t anymore and I didn’t have a backup person to go with me.  Only after I begged her to go with me this weekend did I realize that I was a whole week ahead of myself.  On top of that I told my host parents that I was going to move out the following Friday which is not true.  They told me I didn’t have to move out until December 20th so I will probably stay until then.  I finally set everything straight with everyone and I hope I don’t lose my sense of time again because it is really annoying.



Random Thoughts…
November 18, 2008, 10:17 am
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They use paper napkins here and I’m not talking about the soft, absorbable paper napkins that are so common in the US.  I’m talking about actual paper. Like something you would write on.  They absorb nothing and are the most awful things ever.  When I have to blow my nose I always have to go to the bathroom to get toilet paper or I have to suffer through blowing my nose into a hard, scratchy square and hope I don’t leave danglers.  When I wipe my hands off after eating a nice greasy sandwich, I always fear I am going to ruin my computer because I don’t trust these napkins.  It is true, the soft napkins do exist here but not in restaurants and cafes.

I also noticed that I always take a deep breath in before I drink something.  I don’t know why I noticed this.  I tried to not take a deep breath in and just drink and it was quite difficult, almost impossible.  I have way too much time on my hands…



Me….cooking? hahaha
November 16, 2008, 10:08 am
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I think I am ready to commit to living in Leila’s house.  For those of you who don’t remember, this was the first house I saw when I first came to Jujuy.  The post about it is here.  I went to see the house again today and I really feel like I could make it my home.  I think I will be able to get by at $250 a month.  Food for me will be an interesting experience as I do not know how to cook at all.  I’m excited to explore the grocery store once again.  I could spend hours in a foreign grocery store. I love them so much.  My friend Glenda said she would teach me how to cook or if that fails she would just cook for me because she loves me.  I’d have to buy the ingredients but that is totally the best part of the deal.

I am finding that I have less time to just chill these days because there is so much to do.  I’m happy about this but I wonder if I should spend more time studying my castellano.  I’m learning a lot of new words but my grammar is still a bit funky. Ya fue…



Stamp, please.
November 15, 2008, 10:07 am
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In a few weeks I have to go to Bolivia to get my passport stamped for my 3 month expiration date.  I am a bit worried about it because I know that the Bolivians are at war right now and they are quite displeased with any and all Americans.  My friend told me that they had checkpoints throughout the country and they were deporting all American tourists.  I’m not sure how much I believe him because he seemed like a bullshitter.  I’m going to hope for the best.  I have to stay overnight (24 hours) in the country so I’m going to do a lot of shopping.  Gabi #1 is going with me. Hopefully she doesn’t bail.