Category Archives: my life

El precio de vivir en Bolivia como un extranjero

Acabo de pasar la última semana recolectando los documentos necesarios para obtener una visa de residencia definitiva de Bolivia. He obtenido visas en varios países en América Latina (Guatemala, El Salvador, Brasil y Perú), pero Bolivia es el país más difícil en mi experiencia. Por lo general se requiere más tiempo y frustración para realizar tramites en Bolivia que en otros países americanos.

En la mayoría del mundo, no es necesario tener un memorial firmado por un abogado para realizar tramites normales, pero en Bolivia, es un requisito. Por ejemplo, para obtener mis antecedentes de la FELCN, yo necesitaba un memorial de un abogado, y el abogado hizo mal el memorial, entonces tuve que volver para pedirle reescribirlo. La oficina de la FELCN se queda lejos de los abogados, entonces malgasté dos horas porque la FELCN no tiene un formulario sencillo para obtener los antecedentes. Tuve que obtener reportes de mis antecedentes de 3 instituciones (FELCC, FELCN y REJAP), porque la policia de Bolivia no puede unir todos su datos en solo un sistema como en otros países.

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An update about my life in Bolivia

I haven’t felt inclined to write much about myself lately, partially because nothing which I have been doing lately has been very newsworthy. Still, I realize that what has become so humdrum for me may still be interesting to people who think fondly (or not so fondly) of me. So I dedicate myself for the next hour to chronicling the events of the past week in hopes that others may enjoy reading about my travails of living in the Andes. Continue reading

Experiencing Bolivian Carnival

I´m still recovering from Carnival which ended last Tuesday for most Bolivians, but in a few communities in the La Paz province Carnival keeps going for a week after Lent starts–the Andes always did have an interesting interpretation of Christianity.

Carnival consisted of five days of continual drinking, dancing and nursing hangovers. They don´t show as much skin or have quite the licentious attitude as the Brazilians, but Bolivians are still deadly serious about their carnival. It seems to be a point of honor for them to start dancing and drinking early in the morning and to go till 3 in the morning. Then to stagger off to bed, only to roll out of bed and do it all over the next day. It seems that being constantly hung-over, red-eyed, and staggering with exhaustion are essential to truly “enjoying” carnival. It is a point of honor to keep drinking until you have finished a crate (or even a couple crates) of beer with your friends. Continue reading

Update from Abancay, Peru

I’m taking a general Quechua class with about 12 other people. Since I only paid 3 dollars for the registration fee, I really can’t complain, although the class is really a grand waste of my time. The class is from 6pm to 8pm Monday-Thursday, so I thought that I would be learning a great deal of Quechua with 8 hours of instruction per week, but I have never learned so little in so much time.

More and more, I have become convinced that the communicative method is the only way to teach a foreign language, but the concept seems utterly alien to most Quechua teachers. Continue reading

My life in Abancay, Peru

Abancay, Peru
Friday, July 28, 2006

I have been so busy lately, that I haven’t had much time to sit down and reflect on what I’m been doing here in Peru. Was it Descartes who said that the unreflective life is the life not lived? By that measure I haven’t been doing much living lately.

Currently I’m in Abancay, a plain little town in a cleft between hills which somehow grew into a provincial capital despite itself. I’ve never been in a Latin American provincial capital which didn’t have a plaza, but somehow Abancay grew without town center surrounded by the requisite Cathedral, ayuntamiento (town hall) and other accoutrements of colonial rule. I can’t say that there is much to see here in Abancay, but that is part of the charm of the place. The tourists don’t stop much, except to catch the next bus to Cuzco or to head off to the hills on one of the scenic hikes. In other words, there aren’t too many gringos hanging around, to make people stop being curious about why a strange gringo would show up in their town. Continue reading