Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year in La Paz

Began the New Year with a new hotel, the "Cruz de los Andes", just a few blocks from the "Italia", but in a different world. About twice the price, but ten times the quality! On a quiet side street; with clean, fresh rooms and private balconies, hot water, nice fluffy comforters on the bed, and even a TV (the first I've had since Lima.) The room's walls are painted with elaborate murals portraying the surrounding neighborhood. And the motorcycle is in out of the rain and secure. This is the life!

I went out early this morning, taking a chance that the "Alexander Coffee Shop" might be open. Took a taxi there (only 5 Bolivianos this quiet holiday). They were closed, but I found an alternative a block or two away: the "Cafe La Terraza." They also advertised wi-fi, but although the wireless signal was excellent, it wasn't (at the moment) connected to any internet service!

Decided to make my way back to the "Rosario", but since their cafe didn't open until 1:00, I wandered some different streets to pass the time. That's when I came upon the "Cruz de los Andes" and asked to look at one of their rooms.

I had to overcome a fair amount of inertia to pack up all my stuff, for a move of only two or three blocks, but I knew I would appreciate the change.

The streets are refreshingly quiet today. Walking is more enjoyable when there's a much lower risk of being run over. Most people at home with their families. This resulted in a high ratio of tourists strolling the district, despite a chilly rain that fell throughout the day.

Unfortunately, the other "demographic" that was well-represented was the homeless, huddled against buildings, under plastic sheets, or wandering aimlessly in the cold and rain.

Went to dinner at a different "Pizzeria Italia" a block from the one I had been to previously. A cozy atmosphere, crowded with travelers. I heard German, English and Australian (or New Zealand) accents. Of the 24 diners, the extroverted "active" personalities far out-numbered us more introverted "passive" types. I saw one, perhaps two, other diners who might have been of a similar passive nature as myself.

This has been quite a common observation in areas that are "off the beaten path." It gives rise to a bit of discomfort, as we all tend to compare ourselves to those around us. Among the foreigners. there's a strange sense of "adventure competition". Who can tell of the most daring adventure? (The tendency is evident in the motorcyclists I've met along the way.) Some are at ease in such a world. For others, this competition is forced and unnatural.

Dinner of pizza and the local "Huari Pilsener" beer.

There were a lot of yawning individuals at the neighboring tables. A little too much party last night!


Drew Kampion said...

You passive adventurer you!

Some might find this venture into "work" language a tad disconcerting and non-sequitorial.

timtraveler said...

Yes. Those who understand it might find it interesting. Those who don't, will simply pass by, perhaps a bit puzzled.

timtraveler said...

I took your hint and translated a bit...