Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve

Hotel Utama, Copacabana, Bolivia

This is the noisiest hotel I’ve been in! It sounds like a train station with the movement of guests in and out. They're fully-booked for the weekend. I didn't realize Copacabana was such a destination.

Awoke at 8:30 but my back, ribs and calf were pain, a sorry state of affairs. The body is truly feeble! Lay in bed longer, trying to at least give my back a chance recover.

Occasional thunder rolling in the distance.

Downstairs later, I met "Jessica "(from Lake Tahoe and North Carolina) and "Marcia" (Montgomery, Alabama). They are studying Portuguese in Brazil.

A late lunch with Anne: we walked down to the waterfront and ordered the trucha (trout) lunch at "kiosk #10". That and some La Paz Pilsener beer, not bad!

Lunch with Anne on the waterfront at Copacabana. Trucha (trout) with French fries, salad and La Paz Pilsener! (A scene similar to the Cevecheria Yuly Hoy in Peru!)

Later, we went out to Nimbo’s, a strange little restaurant with a quirky, cluttered interior. The diners, all gringos, and the slowest service ever!

In the rain, walked to the cathedral, visiting a small chapel on one side, where parishioners gathered to light devotional candles.

Visited a club later, where we heard there would be a good band performing. The music was largely Cuban-influenced: songs such as “Chan Chan”. Anne went off to attend the evening mass. After a couple hours in the small club, from my position sitting in the middle of a sofa, I suddenly looked around at all the "20- and 30-somethings", and asked myself “what am I doing here?”

Half-way down the block, I realized I hadn’t paid for my two glasses of wine, and returned to settle my account.

The altitude here makes climbing a couple flights of stairs, or walking up a hill a challenge. It hits you once you stop, then find you can barely catch your breath.

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