A coworker told me this joke today:
A rabbit is running away as fast as he can from Cochabamba to La Paz and on the way encounters a llama.
“Where are you coming from?” the llama asks.
“From Cochabamba,” the rabbit replies.
“Why so fast?” asks the llama.
“The Cochabambinos wanted to cook a duck, and tried to cook me,” says the rabbit.
The llama exclaims, “But you aren’t a duck. You’re a rabbit!”
It’s apparently some reference to the stubborn nature of Cochabambinos but I didn’t get it either.
Menudito is a great dish. My co-worker Sergio brought me to this Chuquisaqueño restaurant to try it out, as it’s one of his favorites. It’s a stew with three types of meat, chicken, beef, and pork, and some very small potatoes and some other veggies. Everything was chopped up real small. This version also had ají which gives the broth that deep red hue and a bit of a spicy kick. It reminded me almost of a gumbo and was delicious.
Sergio explained to me as we ate, that despite being in a Chuquisaqueño restaurant, I would not find menudito in Chuquisaca. It’s a dish that Cochabambinos believe is from Chuquisaca, and so is served in Cocha at Chuquisaqueño restaurants, but is really just a Cochabamba adaptation of a style of stew from Chuquisaca. It doesn’t have to make sense.
In case all this talk of Chuquisaca is confusing you, here’s a map of Bolivia. Cochabamba is the department in the center of the country and Chuquisaca shares a southeast border. The judicial capital of the country, Sucre, is also the capital of the Chuquisaca department.
I had a ticket for the Daddy Yankee concert this Friday in Cochabamba. It was canceled due the swine flu and the medical mask trend shows no sign of abating. The reaction to swine flu is really something here. For example, the public university, San Simón, has been closed (and classes cancelled) for the past two weeks. Anyways, some reggaeton for everyone:
When the micros get really full (as in no one else can physically be stuffed into the bus), they keep the doors open and let people stand in the doorway, holding onto to anything that could you from falling out of the bus. For whatever reason, the buses were really full today and I was hanging out the doorway on two trips. It’s actually pretty fun.
Last Thursday I went to a conference on the process indigenous communities must go through to be recognized as autonomous communities. The presentations given in Quechua and Aymara aside, I found it pretty interesting. Besides the actual process, which mostly is information gathering about the indigenous community, and a lot of paperwork hoops to jump through, I found it interesting that the conference was put on by the Ministry of Autonomous regions. Clearly, with the adoption of the new constitution, Morales has decided to invest heavily in its successful execution. I imagine he hopes to reap the benefits of helping these indigenous communities when they go to the ballot box later this year (there’s a presidential and congressional election at the end of 2009.)
A couple of days ago Los Tiempos ran an article about new cases of swine flu in Bolivia. This has sent people running for cover. The newest fashion trend in Cochabamba street gear (doctor not included):
Probably some of you wonder what I actually do with my days in Cochabamba. On a typical day, I get up and get ready for work. I try to leave the house at 8:40 or 8:45 and hope on a micro. I get to work around 9. I work till about 12:30 and then I’m home again most days until 2:45. Siesta is alive and well and most things shut down from 12-2 for lunch. During lunch, I tend to just surf the web and bum around. Laundry is also a popular activity. It takes a bit longer here, due to the lack of washer and dryer. That means I’ve becoming pretty proficient at hand washing everything and thanks to the dry climate, things dry outside pretty quickly.
I get back to work around 3 and usually work till 5:30 or 6. Nighttime activities vary. At least once a week, I stay in and try to get some things accomplished for school/jobs. Some nights I go out, but usually don’t stay out late. On Mondays, everyone in the house cooks together, and on Wednesdays we all go out for dinner.
The first couple of weekends on Saturday I tried to make it to the countryside around Cochabamba. Last Saturday I played soccer with my coworkers and am planning on doing that tomorrow as well. Weekend nights I usually go out with my friends to some of the bars downtown or to a party. All in all, I can’t complain about things down here.
Old school bug (they’re a common car here), the micro I take to work everyday, ice cream man: