Tag Archive: Bolivia


Ah, Breakfast

Nap-fuMasterThere’s nothing like breakfast after a heavy Nap-fu session.

I don’t always have breakfast, just coffee, but this morning following the coldest night of the year, it was a belly warming experience. Marmalade on hot buttered toast, that quintessential English breakfast.

I was originally going to title this post Nap-Fu King… but when I saw it in print I changed my mind, least it be misconstrued.

Remember I wrote about the neighbours’ cat, the Siamese one… the pretty pregnant one?

Well.

KittyInstallation

She’s nearly installed herself.

Last night, she came in the front door, looked at me, walked straight past the sofa into the kitchen and fed herself.

I can’t deny her food, her owners obviously don’t give her enough or she wouldn’t be coming here to eat. In her delicate condition she needs food.

I am wondering when she will auto-install the add-ons kittens…

dirty-dishes

It’s criminal

My kitchen seems to be in a state of perpetual motion; dishes in the sink, dishes out of the sink, dishes back in the sink. No sooner do I do the dishes, then there’s more dishes to be done. I am convinced this is an evil plot against humanity, me in particular. The fluxing dishes!

I have been following the tragedy of the Malaysian Airlines plane shot down over Ukraine. The USA is squealing like a stuck pig, which is a bit hypocritical since they have done the same thing twice; pot calling the kettle black. It has also led me to think that they dost squeal too much. Is there something more sinister going on, is this another false flag? Just how bloody devious is the USA? I trust them not.

So far today, I have coffeed, repeat…

I have also nearly completed my blog run. Just a couple to go.

Yesterday, I spent some time just sitting in the praça pondering life, with a cup of coffee. Clorinha, of course, wasn’t to be left out. Here she is pondering the merits of a little bird for lunch.

Clorinha pondering lunch

Clorinha pondering lunch

This was after she had pissed all the kids off by chasing their kite strings and tails.

The irrestiable attraction of a loose kite string

The irresistable attraction of a loose kite string

She thought it was fun, the kids did not.

I tried to get a video of her racing about madly, but she was faster than the camera could focus.

While searching for photos for yesterday’s post, I found this.

Awesome butterflies

Awesome butterflies

They were at a roadside stop as we travelled from Santa Cruz de la Sierra north to Concepción. I’d love to know what species.

I had planned weinerschnitzel for lunch, but with 25 minutes left to go, I have just discovered that I forgot to take the meat out of the freezer. Oh well, tomorrow. Looks like corned beef, mustard sauce and spuds.

I’ll leave you with this…

A burglar broke into a house one night. He shone his flashlight around, looking for valuables when a voice in the dark said, ‘Jesus knows you’re here.’

He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked his flashlight off, and froze. When he heard nothing more, he shook his head and continued.

Just as he pulled the stereo out so he could disconnect the wires, clear as a bell he heard ‘Jesus is watching you.’

parrotStartled, he shined his light around frantically, looking for the source of the voice. Finally, in the corner of the room, his flashlight beam came to rest on a parrot.

‘Did you say that?’ he hissed at the parrot.

‘Yes’, the parrot confessed, then squawked, ‘I’m just trying to warn you that he’s watching you.’

The burglar relaxed. ‘Warn me, huh? Who in the world are you?’

‘Moses,’ replied the bird.

‘Moses?’ the burglar laughed. ‘What kind of people would name a bird Moses?’

‘The kind of people who would name a Rottweiler Jesus.’

rottweilerbark

Later.

 

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Phloem

Those annoying stringy banana bits

Those annoying stringy banana bits – image: AV

Did you know that the stringy bits of a banana had a name?

Yes, they do.

Phloem

It’s not just bananas, but present in most plants; it’s just that in bananas they are so damned annoying.

Just another interesting fact of life bought to you by a blogger with nothing better to do than take phloem photos on a Friday morning. BTW, the banana was delicious after I had removed the stringy bits. Don’t you just hate them?

This morning at 3:something a.m. I was browsing blogs that I follow. One blog had a post with three BBC headlines, the first two terrible news, the third, however may seem terrible to you, but to me wasn’t.

Bolivia lowers working age to ten

Now the world is trying to stamp out child labour, and this headline is the exact opposite. To those of us in the ‘developed’ world, that seems terrible, but having travelled throughout, worked as a tour guide and lived and loved on and off in Bolivia, it’s sensible.

Meet Feliciano, he was seven at the time,  and the head of the family.

Head of the family, aged seven

Head of the family, aged seven

Sorry, the photos are terrible, they were scanned off negatives that have been abused up and down the Andes, in the heat of the jungles and bounced along dusty roads around South America.

Feliciano and his cousins Sandro, 10 and Juan Carlos, 8 all worked as shoe shine boys in the main plaza in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. You could get your shoes shone brilliantly for B$1 (boliviano or peso) which at the time was about 30 cents US.

Feliciano at work, the flourish of the brush in the air, he was quite a craftsman and a bit of a comedian

Feliciano at work, the flourish of the brush in the air, he was quite a craftsman and a bit of a comedian

You could find him and cousins in the plaza as early as 6am they worked through the day playing cat & mouse with the municipal wardens to avoid having their tools confiscated and evicted from the plaza. The day often ended at midnight.

Sometimes, when in the plaza for my early morning coffee, I would find them.

Too tired to go home

Too tired to go home

When they woke, I would buy them a salteña (like a pie) and they would start the long day all over again and maybe go home the next night, maybe not. He worked seven days, sometimes he took a day off and spent it playing at the nearby Rio Piray, but he would have his kit and ply his trade around the many cabañas as well.

What he took home was the family wage.

This is the reality in Bolivia and the new law provides some protection.

The last time I saw Feliciano was in 2000, he was 10 and still working.

An ethnic Aymara girl begging in the plaza

An ethnic Aymara girl begging in the plaza

Not only Feli, but beggars, windscreen washers, food sellers as well.

In Bolivia, the poorest country in South America, everybody has to pitch in.

It’s a matter of survival and they don’t have the luxury of not working.

They lead a hard and difficult life, quite unimaginable to us in the western world where we are insulated from these harsh realities and condemn them without knowing the real story.

I can relate similar stories from Peru where I lived in five places.

This is why I have always said, that it wasn’t until I began to travel, that I learned to appreciate the world, both just and unjust.

Sunny day, I have class at 5:30, there is lunch in the fridge today and as it’s after noon, I should be cooking along;

Later.

 

pms-1

Walt Disney knew something

EIMDBPFPR

Now I know why it’s called PMS.

I must admit that when I was married, I never noticed; I just thought she was always like that and that was the way of things.

But one thing I did learn… when to duck and how fast.

You never know what to expect from this blog. I love to keep my readers guessing.

man-stumbling

WARNING! Stumbling block

My attempts to go viral failed miserably. Although I did break my record, twice.

Belated Likes on a couple of past posts took them over my stumbling block of 15; I got 16 on both.

So, I have a new target.

I have just watched Italy sent packing by Uruguay. A sad game where one of the Uruguayan players bit an Italian on the shoulder and the referee refused to pursue the matter.

 

The standard of refereeing generally has been appalling, many of them need to be recycled, preferably as PET bottles.

Yesterday’s win by Brazil against Cameroon 4-1 despite the dirty play by Cameroons repeatedly marking Neymar. He showed them by scoring two goals of the four.

Brazil’s next game is against Chile on Saturday, at least that doesn’t interfere with classes.

It’s back to work today, after a week off because of the Cup. Then tomorrow off to recover from the shock.

I didn't get a squiggly one, they always make me feel as if I have been screwed

I didn’t get a squiggly one

Finally, after four days of darkness in the kitchen, I borrowed the ladder from the botequim and changed the light bulb. These things take time. It’s not procrastination nor laziness, but one has to seriously consider all the ramifications.

I got a straight one, the squiggly ones always make me feel as if I have been screwed and I don’t need a constant reminder in the ceiling.

Pondering! Why do they make light fittings so high? Not everyone has a step-ladder, but everyone has a chair, so why can’t they be just stand-on-a-chair high?

I learned the other day that the Centenary Light Bulb has burned out. That’s like 106 years. It can be done, our stupid planned obsolescence laws won’t allow it.

I read yesterday that the Sudanese woman sentenced to death for apostasy was released. Then I read this morning that her husband and her kids and her have been arrested as they tried to board a plane to America. Her husband is an American. WTF is going on? Why can’t these overzealous idiots leave them in peace to get on with their lives.

La tienda, a neighbourhood shop

La tienda, a neighbourhood shop

Have you ever heard of Cerro Rico? It’s in Bolivia overlooking the city of Potosí. I have been there and been down in the mines many times when I was a tour guide. I posted an article by The Guardian on Tomus today, The Mountain that Eats Men.

Potosí lives for the silver, it’s a strange town where you can buy sticks of dynamite and fuse at the local tienda along with your soda and candies. In fact the kids can buy it for their older brothers or fathers.

The silver mined from Cerro Rico by the Spanish, if melted could have built a bridge all the way to Spain.

I love Potosí, at 4,000 metres above sea level, it’s really cold at night. It’s a sleepy picturesque town.

Later.

 

 

Things that are sent to try us

NOmsofficeNot all plain sailing.

Shortly after my post yesterday I discovered some anomalies. First, there was no sound (fix later); second there was no MS Office (started to pull hair out).

Why? Why me?

Another time I used this same disk it didn’t affect the sound, it loaded MS Office… why now?

I went to work and after I went out for dinner to BBQ restaurant. Ate a lot of dead cow and salads because I had neglected my diet because of PC problems.

audiomuteiconGot home and tried to find driver for sound. Hahahahahahahaha! I wanted a download, I didn’t want a forum, I didn’t want a technical .pdf, I didn’t want all the crap I was offered with false links, I didn’t want Walmart… I just wanted to download the freacken’ driver, damn it!

I went to bed.

I tried again from 7am, then a stroke of genius. Went to PC manufacturers page/drivers found what I was looking for d/loaded, installed… And now I have sound, glorious sound. But I still don’t have OFFICE!

I use Office a lot, I need Office!

I also need more coffee!

I got CorelDraw10 installed this morning, so I was able to illustrate the next story.

Curious thing. MS want their cake and eat it too.

3littleXPpigs

The Big Bad Wolf huffed and puffed

Once upon a time, the three little pigs had a wonderful operating system called XP, then the Big Bad Wolf decided to huff and puff and blew it away. Then they had Vista, the three little pigs hated it; so they painted Vista and call it 7, then they totally crapped out and made 8, the three little pigs weren’t at all happy, there was no ‘start’ button, so along came 8.1. Now the three little pigs still didn’t like it and kept using XP. So the Big Bad Wolf huffed and puffed and blew the support for XP away in April. Hoping that the three little pigs would migrate to 8, etc. But the three little pigs, didn’t migrate, in fact the Chinese little government pigs banned all government usage of 8.

XP still lives, and the Big Bad Wolf still wants to sell it.

If there’s no support from the Big Bad Wolf, then the programme should bloody well become FREEWARE. The Big Bad Wolf can’t have his bacon cake and eat it too!

I posted a story on Tomus yesterday about the oldest goldmine ever discovered. It’s in Georgia, but you can read the post over there.

It reminded me of a similar sad story.

Years ago, when I was a tour guide in Bolivia, our first port of call was Uyuni, then a two day tour of the Salar de Uyuni (salt flats) after staying the night in Alota (should have been called Notalota) we passed coloured lakes with beautiful pink flamengos, the still fuming Ollagüe volcano and then made our way about lunch time to the pueblo of San Cristobal. The feature in this pueblo was the old cathedral, the only adobe cathedral in South America.

San Cristobal with its adobe cathedral

San Cristobal with its adobe cathedral in the background

The pueblo had a silver mine, most of the men worked there; including the caretaker of the cathedral, so it was difficult to get inside for a look. I managed once.

Then along came American miners and decided that the biggest seam of silver ran right beneath the pueblo. So they moved the pueblo into new concrete block housing with running water, electricity and satellite TV, none of which the people had ever had before. Once they had moved the village, they had the problem with the cathedral, being adobe, it couldn’t be moved. So scratch one cathedral and they built a horrible stone replica in the new village.

Totally devoid of character

Totally devoid of character

And the village…

Nothing but a hole in the ground

Nothing but a gaping hole in the ground

A sad, sad end to a magnificent sight.

I haven’t been there for many years. When I learned of the destruction, I cried.

Later.

 

A Vague Feeling

I decided coffee first...

I decided coffee first…

Yes, I woke this morning… several times actually, but when I finally woke, I had a vague feeling it was Friday. I couldn’t be certain, but it was just a niggling feeling. Quite annoying actually. I didn’t really know what to do first; put my pants on, make coffee, read my emails or pee. Ah, priorities…

I was told once that you determine old age when a fellow stands in front of the urinal, unbuttons his shirt and pees…

Personally, I believe it is when you forget how to ride the bike…

today-is-international-beer-day-284x284This morning I discovered it was International Beer Day. Then I saw the date on the post, 2nd August… I missed it.

Then it occurred to me, why do we need a day to celebrate something we do every day?

We do have some ridiculous celebrations.

I see the world is a better place… Westboro Church founder has gone to his reward, I just hope it’s full of little gay devils.

IEdownloadsI got invited by Yahoo to upgrade to IE11. How ridiculous! If Yahoo was so bloody smart it would know that I am using FireFox, and therefore couldn’t give a constipated about IE which is a load of crap.

I can’t believe people actually use this crap. But then I used it to downlaod FireFox… LOL

I have begun sorting out and filing photos that I took years ago, then lost them on a bad hard drive, then recovered.

One of them bought back fond memories of food and girls.

cabaña

This quaint cabaña is one of many by the Rio Piray near Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia. I used to frequent these cabañas on the weekend, they served cold beer and local food. An added attraction was that I had two girlfriends (not at the same time) who lived there.

This is not the photo that inspired me but another, you’ll have to visit Things that Fizz & Stuff for the rest of the story.

Another photo that I discovered was taken in Cabanaconde in the Colca Canyon Valley, Peru. I took it on a frosty early morning stroll.

calf2

Just a calf looking over the fence at me.

Now it’s time for a nap.

Later.

Asi es la vida

Thisisthelife

This is the life, no?

Asi es la vida, no? This is the life, no?

In the south of Bolivia, near Uyuni, there is a cemetery.

No one is buried there, but rusting dead trains sit on kilometres of disused rail tracks and lay sprawled across the sands.

Several have suffered graffiti but one in particular tells it like it is.

I used to travel through here on a monthly basis when I was a tour guide in the mid-90s and always marvelled at this train.

flaxflulogoI saw this photo today, and it reminded me. This is the life… Saturday BBQ and beer in the sun and today in the evening classic Brazilian football (soccer) arch rivals Flamengo and Fluminense (FlaFlu battling it out for over 100 years) at 7:30 this evening, and of course, more beer.

There is a high chance that there could be some beer in the afternoon as well to accompany another sunny day.

On the not-so-good front, it appears that the US spying scandal is threatening the internet. With Brazil and Germany (and Europe) so far making plans to divide the net into regional entities.

zzYou're_screwedBasically, the US has screwed the net. This could mean the end of cloud computing, I saw yesterday an estimate of American cloud based companies losing $35bn by 2016.

Already there are pop-up warnings on some sites like, “This message may be subject to American espionage!”

The last few posts we have talked about penises, testicles, boobs and a happy pussy.

Happy Pussy

Happy Pussy

This has given me a great insight as to my readers’ preferences by measuring the ‘Likes’. Posts without the unmentionables score low, boobs and a happy pussy come next, then testicles and top ‘Likes’ go to penis posts.

This is not a trend, it doesn’t foretell the future content of my posts, but it is interesting.

Meanwhile, I must blog along

They say one must make hay while the sun shines. I have no intention of making hay, but lunch and beer are high on the list of priorities.

Ah, this is the life, no?

Later.

Picking Peppers

One of my modest chili pepper bushes

I grow chili and cayenne peppers in my small modest garden. I love to watch them grow, first green, then orange and then finally fire red.

Today, I had crops from both bushes ready for harvesting.

There is one important fact that one must bear in mind picking peppers; wash your hands before having a pee.

I learned this the hard way.

In NZ we don’t have chili nor cayenne peppers, at least I have never seen them there. We have the capsicum (bell pepper), but not the hot varieties.

It wasn’t until I came to Brazil that I met ‘real’ peppers.

Brazilians have a jar or bottle of pimenta malageta (chili peppers) in olive oil on the table at every meal (breakfast excluded) much as we westerners have a pepper shaker with white pepper.

Our smoker

Our smoker

But it was in Bolivia, c1999, that I learned my lesson. I was a cook in an American BBQ restaurant called Cowboys  in a small plaza in Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

We served great smoked ribs and various other dishes; one of which was hot beans. We smoked our own meat and cooked our own beans. The beans called for a bag of dried peppers in a 30 litre pot. I’m not sure what kind of peppers, but they were about 8cm (4″) long and they were added to the pot during the cooking.

Soon after adding the peppers to the pot I needed relief. No problem, the beans were on a simmer, so off to the bathroom.

It was soon after my return to the kitchen, that I began to get a strange sensation in the lower region. This strange feeling began to intensify gradually until it was evident that my manhood was on fire.

I soon realised what I had done.

I tried washing the affected parts, I tried cold water, I tried ice cubes in my underpants while dancing in a demented frenzy around the kitchen all the while trying to keep a steady supply of dishes for the dining room. Believe me, that’s no easy task when you are more worried about your manhood than food; and whether it will ever function again.

My boss, who doubled as barman and waiter, caught me dancing a fire maddened fling around the kitchen. I explained the reason for my antics, and he left the kitchen with the ready dish laughing his head off.

I, however, didn’t think it was funny, not in the least.

The kitchen closed at midnight, I had spent an agonising six hours, and then I limped home, a twenty minute walk, a much wiser man, with a still warm, tingling sensation in the nether regions.

My advice to any man who handles raw peppers, WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE GOING FOR A PEE!

Must blog along.

Later.

A Rugged Week

A real coffee maker

A real coffee maker

After a rugged week, coffee is on the way,

I have a wicked headache, so bad that I took a paracetamol. I rarely take medicines, usually not needed, but there are times like this.

A great cup of coffee is only moments away, then sanity will return to the world, at least my world.

The coador (cloth strainer) is the only way to make coffee. It is faster and more efficient and simply makes better coffee than all your gadgets or machines.

Of course, it’s not without its drawbacks; you actually have to boil water, and worst of all, you have to lift the coffeepot afterward to pour the elixir into your cup.

I am wallowing in bliss, much like a pig wallows in the mud; that first sip of freshly brewed morning coffee transports one to paradise, no return ticket.

Friday, I got over Hump Day, no elephants involved. Slid all the way down Thursday, and arrived with a resounding thump on Friday, albeit with the headache which is slowly dissipating. Coffee truly is a purveyor of miracles.

No class today, no class tomorrow, and football (soccer) and beer on Sunday. Yes, a three-day weekend.

Coming in to land at El Alto (La Paz) Airport

Coming in to land at El Alto (La Paz) Airport

I see Bolivia is a tad more than miffed at having their president banned from flying over France, Italy, Spain and Portugal through their airspace and forcing a stopover in Austria, where Morales consented to having his plane searched for the US whistleblower.

What would have happened if Morales had refused under diplomatic immunity?

Further food for thought; what would have happened if Morales jet had defied the four-country ban and flown over any of those countries? Would they have shot it down? Would the cowards have the balls to do that?

We all know who was to blame for the ban.

The Bolivian president is considering closing the US Embassy as a result, four other South American nations are also considering the case.

“The Bolivian president blamed Washington for pressurising European countries into refusing him passage.

“My hand would not shake to close the US embassy,” Mr Morales said.

“We have dignity, sovereignty. Without the United States, we are better politically and democratically.””BBC News

I am beginning to think that he may be right, not only Bolivia,but the rest of the world might be better off without American interference. Politically, Washington is getting too big for its boots.

Imagine if: “”If this had happened to the president of the United States, it probably would have been grounds for war,” said Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa.”BBC News

Indeed!

The sun is promising to top the trees in the praça, it looks like a beautiful day ahead.

Prince Charles in front of the Tardis

Just before I toddle off into the blogosphere, I will point you toward a blog that I find tremendously funny. Prince Charles _ HRH of Twitter If you are a fan, or even if you’re not, of England’s Royals, this will appeal to you; a spoof of Prince Charles at his best. A wonderful example of British humour and stiff-upper-lip. The current post on Dr Who is funny, but the previous Ascot post is hilarious.

Later.

It Happened Again

say-cheese_o_618144

Just love that smile

Nope, not my pants falling down, but I didn’t get round to my Saturday post, for which I was duly punished my having my worst day ever for visitors on all blogs.

It also happened again when I was looking for a suitable image to go with my thoughts of ‘say cheese’. I can’t just be content with finding a suitable image, I have to browse and look through everything, so time consuming.

As you can see, I found a lovely ‘say cheese’ image, but it’s not even that kind of cheese that I was thinking about. I was thinking about real cheese, the stuff that is made from milk.

Back in 1999, I lived in Bolivia, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, actually and I got a job on a farm about 2o kilometres from the city. Of course I had to live at the farm, because it wasn’t the kind of 20 kilometre commute where one just catches a bus to get there.

The job I had was to use Excel and make an accounting system for a collective of six farms.

It was in my ‘off’ hours that I began to watch the local workers make cheese in the quesaria with the excess milk that wasn’t required my the milk company.

I began to make cheese.

It was great because while I am a chef and used cheese, I had no idea about making the stuff.

I learned about many things, how to make cream and ricotta cheese from the left over whey, how to flavour and mature cheese, it was fun.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I went into Santa Cruz laden with bags of cheese and peddled my wares around the deli and health shops.

I even made a poster which has long been lost, but I found the photo I used on an old hard drive.

cheese17

I sold the cheese under the name “Vaca Feliz” Happy Cow.

Living on the farm was a happy time, away from the chaotic city, peace, quiet and solitude.

If I had the chance to live on a farm again, I would jump at it.

Sunday Travel Tales

The main plaza, Santa Cruz de la Sierra – image credit on the photo

Going to have a break this week. I’ll leave the continuation of the Peru story for next week.

A few weeks ago I saw a great story on Lottie Nevin, This Little Piggy Went to Market about an Indonesian market. It got me to thinking of some of the South American markets that I have been to, and used to frequent.

Most notably was Los Pozos in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia, but also Abastos in the same city and San Juan in Lima, Peru.

Sloths live in the trees in the plaza – image via: about.com Ron Miller

Some of Lottie’s photos (she a great photographer) could have been taken in any of these markets, they are so similar. The thing they have in common would give a sanitary inspector nightmares. Let’s just say you will not find anything like it in the First World. If you haven’t already, hop across to Lottie’s blog and have a look.

los_pozos

Los Pozos at the lower middle, close to Arenal Park on the left. This is just a few blocks from the central plaza – image: Google

Los Pozos today is not at all like it used to be when I lived there.

The old market was demolished and a new one built, but that didn’t mean that the level of hygiene was up graded, it just meant that the market was in a new building.

The building looks new, as you can see by the frontage.

lospozossrz

The new Los Pozos

But the surrounding streets are still an impromptu jumble of stalls and colour.

One of the things about these markets is that despite the lack of hygiene, there aren’t hoards of people getting sick. I certainly never suffered any illness by buying my food there.

This also got me to thinking that we in the First World are babied, mollycoddled… “I guess the big attraction for me, apart from the hustle and bustle, is that they show what wimps the western world have become, a point that I was blind to before travelling all over South America. I found that in the 3rd World I could live with half the baggage and double the fun.” – quote from a comment I made on Lottie’s blog.

The colour and hustle and bustle of the surrounding streets

The colour and hustle and bustle of the surrounding streets

lozpozosmeat

The meat market

These aren’t my photos, they are ones that I found on Google, I can’t remember who to credit, but if they are yours, let me know and I will. Can’t figure out why the market photo is out of alignment.

The western world is over-regulated. There are too many rules and laws, that we don’t need half of them. But we have become so used to everything being ‘squeaky clean’ we have forgotten how to live.

Next week, back to Peru

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