No turkey for me...

Trip Start Sep 28, 2006
Trip End May 04, 2007

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Thursday, November 23, 2006

Wednesday was pretty low key. I had my last breakfast with Gary before he headed off to Uyuni to do the salt flats tour, and spent most of the day burning CDs of my photos and uploading my pictures, which took FOREVER. Damn connections are SO slow down here. As I walked back up El Prado I was bombarded by people trying to sell me various things. After two months of being in SA, it still boggles my mind just how much random stuff you can get on the street! You seriously can buy anything, except for things you actually need at the moment that you need them, of course. It's like not being able to find a Starbucks when you actually want one. Although I guess I never really want one. Anyway, yesterday morning there were buttons, phone cards, bandages, antennas (not attached to anything--what are you going to do with that?), pirated software, all types of clothing, shoelaces, just to name a few. So much stuff everywhere!! And there are always the most massive lines outside of banks in every country I have been to--two or three blocks long! Obviously direct deposit hasn't exactly made it down here and many people don't have ATM cards or bank accounts, but it always surprises me nonetheless. Okay, enough random asides for now.
Thursday was Thanksgiving, and ironically I was severely ill. It was the first day I felt truly homesick, and I was sad that I could not be with my family. I had been hoping to find some other Americans to celebrate turkey day, but did not have much luck. Since I could not enjoy turkey and stuffing anyway, I suppose I didn't end up missing out on anything! 
I woke up in the middle of the night with intense stomach pains that would not go away no matter what position I was in. It was unbearable! I did not even eat any off limits foods! I seriously don't understand what my deal is. My body just really does not like Bolivia I guess. I definitely could not eat in the morning (tried but the pains got worse) and could hardly walk. I eventually managed to get myself out of bed and head down El Prado to the Aerosur office to look into buying a flight to Sucre on Saturday. I was planning on leaving earlier and taking a night bus to save cash, but the idea of a 14 hour, bumpy bus ride (Bolivian roads are brutal) without a bathroom did not sound too appealing and I figured I should stay a couple days longer to do email and rest up a bit. I am very happy with my decision to splurge--it was only 30 dollars more anyway with my student discount!
I went back to my room around 2 pm to get some rest, and then ate "breakfast" at 4 pm at Mama Naturelza, a little restaurant with an outdoor patio near my hotel. I like 100 percent Natural better, but this place was tasty as well and I am going to check it out for breakfast tomorrow perhaps. You know a place is touristy down here when there are TWO natural food restaurants! I ate dinner at the other one, and was surprised to see the Daily 10 on VH1 on the TV. I am way behind on my celebrity gossip! After calling home to wish my family a Happy Thanksgiving, I checked the TV in my room and discovered that I have nearly every single channel there is! I watched shows I never even got to see when I was in the states. It was the perfect evening activity before passing out early.
Friday morning I woke up feeling much better (I actually managed to get 8 hours of sleep! Incredible!) and ready for a nice big breakfast. I went to Mama Naturaleza and had a massive bowl of homemade granola with tropical fruit and real plain yogurt (not the sweetened liquidy stuff that is the norm here), my favorite platano con leche juice, a muffin, and great coffee. So yummy! It was pricey (well, 4 bucks) but worth it. I ran some errands, spent more time online and then had an awesome lunch at 100 percent Natural--a foot long sub with all kinds of veggies, avocado, cheese and fried eggs on a baguette. YUM.
I was going to head back to the internet place after lunch but decided that I cannot go to La Paz and skip the Coca Museum, so I checked it out for 8 bol. The museum was ok, basically just was a small room with some captions and pictures on the wall. I wasn't that into it, but I met some cool people there--a few Irish guys and an American named Joe from Colorado, the first American I have met in Bolivia (aside from Gary). There really are not many people from the states down here, it is nice!!
Anyhow, Joe just got a job bartending at a hostal and invited me to come visit later on for a drink. I decided to take him up on it, as I hadn't really gone out yet in La Paz and had no other plans for my last night in this city. I took a cab out there but I could not go upstairs to the bar because the hostal has insanely strict security policies and required me to leave ID. I keep going back and forth between never carrying anything on me and always carrying everything on me during this trip, and unfortunately it was the former that night. In retrospect, traveling without any personal ID is stupid and from now on I will start carrying at least my old drivers license. I finally managed to convince the woman that I was not going to break into all of the rooms and steal everyone's stuff, and she let me visit my new friend for a whole twenty minutes before coming up practically in tears and forcing me to leave because she was going to lose her job if I stayed up there, being the extremely dangerous person that I am. Thankfully, despite my lack of time and the fact that the bar was quite dead, I managed to make some new friends and we all headed to Oliver's Travels to continue our night of festivities.
Damien and Gerbert, nice guys in their 20s from Ireland, accompanied me in the cab to Oliver's Travels, which proclaims itself the "100 percent Fake English Pub." Funny enough, the place was filled with Irish people, and other than one strange but funny Canadian guy, I was the only non-Irish person there. Damien bought me a glass of wine, and we all hung out there until about 1 am. The highlight was watching this guy Hugo (Irish, kinda chubby with glasses) get completely wasted (it was his birthday) and make the hugest fool of himself dancing and singing along to U2's "Vertigo." HILARIOUS. Damien took a video and I really really wish I could have gotten a copy for myself. 
I was pretty tired, sober, and suffocating from the smoke, but decided to head over to Mongo's once again with the whole crew since it was my last night in La Paz, and I won't be in a big city until I am in Buenos Aires next month. I have a feeling the nightlife will not be raging in Sucre! The club was pretty packed, surprisingly with more locals than gringos. I was far too sober to deal with the crowds, so I hung out for an hour or so chatting with Gerbert before calling a cab. I think I have come to the sad conclusion that perhaps I do need to have a couple drinks in me to really go out. I always say I don't need alcohol to have fun or to go dancing, and it is true of course, but I think I DO need alcohol in order to tolerate crowded obnoxious clubs. Gerbert had been chatting me up a bit, and just as the cab pulled up he asked if I wanted to go home with him...I started laughing and said no thanks. I mean, he was a very sweet guy, but I had a flight in the morning and just wanted to go home. Alone. Hooking up with guys is not my priority down here...I am not saying it has not happened (sorry, leaving out juicy details!), but I am not out and about searching for it. If I meet someone I like, great, and if not, I don't care.
I got in the cab feeling a bit strange...I don't know why, I just did. I suppose watching all of the girls dancing in the club, dressed up and looking all polished, made me feel out of my element. I miss being in shape, nicely dressed, etc. It hits me occassionally, I can't help it. I passed out by 2:30 am--11:30 am flight to Sucre tomorrow. Can't wait to get out of La Paz!!!!!!!

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