A Moment Or Two In Sopocachi

Wandering around in La Paz (Bolivia) is always a stimulating delight. The sights and colours, the hustle and bustle, the synchronised chaos, all combine to hit the senses with what I can only describe as ‘beautiful’.  It is always wise though, to keep in mind the geography and altitude. What amounts to walking distance to Sopocachi may very well necessitate a taxi or minibus back up the mountain, until you have acclimatized to walking around the highest capital city in the world.

I decided we were going to walk back home, but first a few minutes watching a mime go through his paces at the corner of Plaza Abaroa at the junction of Pedro Salazar and Sanchez Lima.

Moving on we needed to purchase a phone card. You could get these from any of the numerous sidewalk stalls, however we first came across Jackie.

Sidewalk Secretary
Jackie posing for a photo
Sidewalk Secretary
Jackie with a client.

Jackie was what I would call a ‘Sidewalk Secretary’. This was new to me, but on reflection, it makes perfect sense to put a little table and old school typewriter on the sidewalk. Not everyone can read or write but almost everyone is going to need to fill out a form or write a letter in this environment. Jackie is one of the friendliest individual I have met to date. Quite warm and sincere was my impression, and she seemed unwilling to let go of my hand during a parting handshake. I have since been made aware of another interpretation of my impression….. Jackie was hopelessly smitten!

Naturally at the time, I was totally oblivious to the amorous effect I was having on the nice lady, and I do now realise she wasn’t just looking up at me as she sat there with my hand clasped firmly in both her hands – she was gazing….


The Best Birthday Ever!

birthday-027Today Monday 25 March is my birthday…. also my last day in La Paz and my last visit to see Dra. Romanelli – Dra is a female doctor in Spanish (doctora). I was thinking it was yesterday, my birthday that is, after all the fun we had…. what with driving all the way to Valencia  with Inge and Quik for lunch, and then back home to Sopocachi  for an excellent Mexican dinner prepared by Nino, followed by beer, fernet and coke and lots of tequilla – that was Sunday. And before that on Saturday, a fabulous BBQ at Panchi’s house…. and on Friday it was a spectacular parade followed by a night out with Inge, Quik, Olga, Mariela, Miguel Angel and myself (which ended up in a gay bar)

So it was quite a shock for me to find all these birthday wishes on my facebook wall this afternoon and be reminded it was still my birthday. You are all going to hear more about all these characters as I catch up with all the happenings from the last eight weeks, not necessarily in chronological order as blogs go, but for now Sebas and the family are playing guitar and singing off the fabulous birthday cake Mariela just surprised me with, complete with a beautiful rendition of a Mexican birthday song. At some point we have to pack for a very early flight in the morning so I’ll leave you with that beautiful Mexican birthday song in case you don’t know it. Try to imagine it with Sebas on guitar, Jose Manuel, Mariela, Nino and Mary singing ….. in tear provoking harmonies. Thanks guys! You are all everything anyone can wish for…..

Dra. Alexia Romanelli Zuazo Calls Me A Sissy

Well shortly after my post last night I headed down to 6 de Agosto Avenue (yes there is a street called 6th of August) to see my Doc. I have to say this lady really is a credit to her profession scheduling her patients after hours (8 pm) for follow ups. She was very happy with the progress of my left eye, which she attributes to my brain somehow learning to control it better when I focus with the right eye.  It turns out I look perfectly normal when I use my left eye except I can’t see to read or write. The good news is she won’t be making any adjustments tomorrow, under local after all, as she wants to see how much correction my brain does on its own by the time I return to La Paz next year the latest. In either case, she finally got round to the business of removing the stitches from inside my eyes, but not before calling me the equivalent of a sissy on observing my obvious reticence. It only took a few minutes and the relief was almost immediate. No more scratchy eyes.

At this point I had decided that my headache was due to a muscle spasm just behind my right shoulder, which one or two Valium should rectify. The good doctor obliged with a prescription, not that I needed one in these parts, and I was good to go within the hour. I also decided that Mariela (my wife, tour guide and translator) deserved a bite in a really expensive coffee shop where a quiche, an avocado, alfalfa sprout, cheese etc sandwich, and very good coffee put us back about almost $7.00.

Me and Dra. Alexia Romanelli
Me and Dra. Alexia Romanelli

Where Do I Begin?

Well, here I am in La Paz, BPhillip Citizen Johnsonolivia in bed with a massive headache. I am really determined to start this blog and also work on my photography to see where it takes me, but it’s been a struggle. Where do I begin…. Let’s start with that headache.

It’s really a pain in the eyes that won’t go away. You see eleven days ago I had strabismus surgery on both eyes. Two nights ago I had completed my course of antibiotics just in time to head of to Bocaisapo, a popular wine bar, where our friend Rodrigo was playing. Having been on the wagon for ten days, I quickly surpassed my limit. It didn’t end there either…. I returned home, literally half blind, to find Sebas and Jose Manuel (my brothers-in-law) having a birthday party for one of their friends.  My wife decided in her diminished capacity to open the bottle of mezcal I had been saving for my return to Bermuda…. I have been in an incapacitated state for the last two days as a result.

I am going to have to fill you in with the details in subsequent posts, but for now I must pay my very capable surgeon Dra. Alexia Romanelli Z a visit.