20 Jan 05
La Paz, Bolivia
There is one aspect of this trip that I haven’t really touched on yet, and we’ll, maybe I shouldn’t, just in case Lou is reading (I don’t want him thinking I’m French.) There are times, quite often, when this trip is god awful, kill me, please, now, boring. Maybe I’m just more attuned to it since I’ve been sick, and can’t get out of my hotel room. When I get back to the states, if I never play another game of Solitaire on my palm pilot it will be to soon. Again and again I’m thankful that I have my laptop, otherwise I may have ended my life by now.
The problem is that there are limited stimuli.
TV – some, but often boring (and surprisingly often, in English), and in La Paz, sucks. Plus I never really watch TV with full attention. Usually it’s just background noise, unless it involves rings, and lords, and hobbits.
Books – Ha!! I brought a book, which with diligent management lasted me a couple of weeks. Then I got another book at a book exchange – Terry Brooks, Running with the Devil I think, which I got a couple more weeks out of. It had two things going for it – I read one of his first books many years ago when I was into science fiction and loved it, and he’s from the Seattle Area. The rest of my choices sucked. I found another book exchange after much searching, and got a book called “The Confessions.” It is a biting satire about a dysfunctional family. So far I’ve read about five pages. It was a New York Times best seller, but honestly, I think that’s probably because of book clubs all over the US, full of women who are glad it’s not their lives. Maybe it will be more interesting when I hit menopause (i.e. Never.) I long for a bookstore full of English language books.
Computing – Thanks GOD for my apple laptop. But I am limited to what I can do without the internet, or when I’m offline. After a full day of picture taking, I have my workflow for the photos to do. Most of that time is just spent waiting for the computer to either process or rename the files. It takes some time, but after about 6 weeks, it’s more of a chore than anything else. But at least I have more options with the computer. I can download programs to try, or read web pages I’ve downloaded at the internet cafe. Writing these post up takes a lot of time, a couple of hours per post, and I just hope I’m able to read it later, because that’s really what these post are for – so I can remember these things years down the road.
Palm Pilot – This makes me sound like a sad, sad man. Since I’ve been gone, I’ve spent the sum of a couple of days playing Solitaire. If I’m waiting for someone or something, or eating dinner, or flying somewhere, it’s there for me. Once I won 8 games in a row, or double my previous record. I am very proud of that, but only because I think it’s almost statistically impossible.
Much time is spent in my room, looking at the walls. You can’t be outside looking at stuff 24, or even 12 hours a day. Then there is breakfast, lunch and dinner, all usually eaten alone. Occasionally I hook up with someone for a meal or two, but again, rare. Part of the problem is demographic – a lot of the travelers are either a lot younger (and traveling with friends) or a lot older and traveling with family or spouse. I can count on two hands the number of travelers that are alone, if you remove the hiking trips I went on. When people are younger, they tend to stay in cheaper places, hostels and the like. If they are older, then they are traveling with other people. Granted some of the problem is my own making, since I’m not very outgoing (well, until my new years resolution kicks in.) I’ll be making more of an effort once I get this cold under control (and it almost is.)
There are only so many old Cathedrals and Museums you can see until they start looking alike. The same with internet cafes and coffee shops, where I’ve been spending a lot of time lately writing these post up. I never have that problem with trees, mountains and other natural wonders.