April 11, 2008

On the Ground, Things Seem Different

MABB © ®
Well, it is my third day in La Paz. Slowly getting used to the altitude. Even a born Bolivian like me can be affected by it. The first day, it was even hard for me to speak. You just run out of breath. But, anyway, it takes time to get used to, but slowly one gets to speed.

One thing to report, my laptop is broken. It seems I have to replace the hard drive. I don´t know whether the product was too fragile or my handling of the laptop was too rough. I did take care of it, just for the record. So my plans to have a computer and a connection to the net all the time has been shuttered. I am forced to rely on public pcs or other media. We´ll see how I manage. I won´t go into the repair discussion, because it is complicated (with insurance coverage and all). But I will say what a computer guy told me when I inquired about repair. He said that he has seen some foreign computers brake down under the altitude due to "pressure" (his words, not mine). Whether that is right or not, I am afraid I won´t be able to prove.

Well, the political environment and/or climate here is surprisingly calm. There is a feeling of continuity and even of normalcy. That, one does not get from outside. I expected to find a climate of tension, almost hostility, but so far not.

One thing though, my impression is that time changes everything. The city has completely change since I was here. A guy once told me, when talking about me going back to the place I was born, one does not go back. It is impossible to go back to the place one once was. Today, I can say, that is true, to a large degree. La Paz has evolved in so many ways. The neighborhoods I used to frequent as a school child have changed not only physically (the houses and streets) but also the people who once lived there are there no more. It seems to me that the city has become more commercialized. There are shops everywhere. Commerce reigns!

However, it is a bit too early to draw conclusions. After all, I am just three days here. But I will be posting my impressions and what I am doing and learn. The mundane things, such as getting a cell phone or getting from one place to another.