Forgive the excessive posting; I know I won¬¥t have Internet access for the next few days, so I am writing yet again while I have the time.
One strange observation I wanted to share: all of the churches in Bolivia are currently tagged with graffiti reading, “Evo is God.¬¥¬¥ This is thanks to President Evo Morales recently trying to take religious education out of the national school curriculum. I¬¥m all for separation of church and state, but Bolivians aren¬¥t. They are really unhappy about the idea of not having their “traditional¬¥¬¥ religion included in their studies. This is a country where one is essentially born Catholic and only the weak stray elsewhere.
Those who agree with Evo, in turn, bought spray paint and coordinated national tagging of the country¬¥s churches. It is seriously heartbreaking. Many of these buildings were built by the Spanish in the 1500 and 1600s and are made of carved stone work. You know they took slave labor once upon a time to construct. They are incredible, and yet now they wear the ugly tattoo of recent politics.
Bolivians do not eat tortillas, nor do they appreciate the influence of Mexico on their culture. They liken this to the Americanization of their culture and it is the gringos fault that they even know what the word gringo means.
Their national bread is crusty french bread, if you can imagine. I¬¥m not sure how it came about, but when in Rome/Paris/Tarija, slather it with some strawberry jam and call it breakfast.
Have I mentioned I am at least a foot taller than any other Bolivian I¬¥ve met? I¬¥ve yet to travel to a country where my height (5¬¥10¬¥¬¥) is the norm. So to my brother and the others who have joked that my stature and the size of my feet are Amazonian, I would just like to point out that no, no they are not. They are very American, with good nutrition during childhood. Amazonian women are much smaller than me. Oy.
I am a wee bit homesick. There, I said it. I miss y¬¥all, with extra emphasis on my family, the Ya Yas, NPR, bagels and my running routine. (Not so much on the heat or commute, though.)
Thank you for the sweet comments many of you have left. I am paying for Internet here by the Boliviano, so I¬¥m not responding to each comment as usual. Forgive me for the time being. I¬¥ll be better when I return. I can¬¥t tell you how nice it is to read your thoughts and well wishes. Mil gracias!