Tupiza, the beautiful outdoors

Trip Start Apr 05, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Friday, August 20, 2010

I start loving this. A lot. 
The road. The freedom. Every day is another day, every morning the beginning of new things. And I never really know what will happen, and where my next steps will lead to.
The trainride from Oruro to Tupiza was great. I talked to many other travelers, cause that's the easiest step to make when you are traveling alone. Just simlply "Hey! Where are you from?" and there you are, a new breakfastfriend, or trainfriend.
On the ride I met 2 families, a worker from La Paz, and 2 couples this way. The couples and I ended up going to the same hostel, and sharing a daytrip together. It was amazing.... a part sightseeing by jeep, then a part hiking, and a final part horsebackriding (oh how do I miss that!).

On the way back to the beginningpoint our guide made me switch horses and I got to ride a passionate 3-year old stallion. He loved running but I had to hold him back because the other horses would just follow (and for most of the others it was the first time riding). But oh how I felt I miss riding! Made me remember how it felt to run on the beach on a horse, so fast, so one with nature.
I also met up with Erik, the only couchsurfer of Tupiza, twice. We got a beer and dinner. And yes I found the very first non-malt beer I liked! The best beer of Bolivia he says (and I must agree), and hard to find. El Huari. We had great conversations and he explained many cultural differences... which makes questions I had about encounters with other bolivians fall into place... So interesting!
For example, probably the whole of South America has a machisimo culture. When I want to pay something for a guy, they have a really really hard time with that. Also, you can't say no, to anything. If you really need to say no you have to start with an apology, and it better be good :) Therefor also, when people are drinking, nobody says no to a next round of beer :) AND you all drink together, every time! IF you want to drink from your glass, you lift it and say 'salut' and then EVERYONE salutes (cheers) and drinks together! Every time :) He explained that in situations like drinking, the individual doesn't count, but the community, the group. So they're all as drunk haha.
Traveling alone creates all kinds of heartwarming situations. When people ask me if I am viajando solita (often multiple times a day), they are always very surprised when I answer yes. I wonder what they think, maybe they don't understand why I would want to do this, or they feel sorry for me and don't realise the advantages. I have never seen so many babies and very young pregnant people as here, it's the norm, having a big family and starting this very young.But I was in a local restaurant, eating a great almuerzo, and 2 older local men at the table next to me ordered a big bottle of Fanta, and gave me also a glass of it, just like that. Such a nice gesture :)
But I start really liking this, just me myself and I, and often new people. Nobody to decide for me, nobody to hide behind.

I urgently need to blog more, next: The Salt flats! Finally I saw them, on a 4-days tour, with mindblowing nature... Will be continued, soon... I have been traveling extremely slow but the next 2 weeks will be a big catch-up to that, just stay tuned! :)

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