Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Post seven: happiness is La Paz in the rearview mirror

I am back using NaturallySpeaking Dragon again, so please excuse my strange grammar. I am in the village of Copacabana along the shores of Lake Titicaca.  I’m much happier here than I was in La Paz.  It is a town of artisans and bohemians.  There are splendid Alacade handicrafts, musicians, drummers, and lovely side-street cafes.  This cafĂ© in particular is playing Brazilian jazz and has WIFI (that’s major here).  I am really wishing that I could go on an Amazonian adventure now… maybe I will just forget Cuzco altogether, who knows?  Maybe I should go to the Amazon….

I opted out of hostel life for a while. I have gotten myself a seven dollar per night room, all for me. The only thing it does not have is Wi-Fi, but no hotel in Copacabana has Wi-Fi anyway. Tomorrow I will go to Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna.  Today I’m pretty much just chilling, keeping to myself and working on things. The demographics of the population of Bolivia are quite different than that of Peru.  Bolivia is mostly populated by descendants of Native Americans. Peru, on the other hand, has a population that is largely descendent of both the Chinese and European nations.  It was quite interesting to me to see quite a few people of Chinese descent living in South America. My taxi driver said it was because the Chinese were brought over as slaves in the 1800s.  Apparently, they studied and worked until they began to own businesses and take positions of prestige within the society. That makes sense, the Chinese are industrious.


I’m trying to get by on $100 for the entire five days I’m staying in Copacabana; therefore I don’t see myself eating anything very fancy.  Yesterday I had a hamburger with cheese and egg on top. I must admit, that was pretty good. My seven dollar per night hotel room is pretty nice. It even has English-speaking stations on the TV. There is no heater here, but I just sleep with two sweaters on and under two blankets. It is not so bad and it is really awesome not to have any hostel mates for a while.  Loki really wore me down.


The bus from La Paz to Copacabana cost me 20 Bolivianos, or about three dollars. There is no need for a taxi in this small village. I did have to pay an extra 1.5 Bolivianos to take a ferry across Lake Titicaca. They shipped the bus on a different boat and then we continued our ride.


I have a hard time paying 16 Bolivianos for some cookies when I only paid 20 Bolivianos for the bus ride over here. Although two and three dollars is not much, when I compare the relative value it makes me want to spend less. I am down to eating one meal per day.


On the way over here I was sitting next to three traveling Argentines. I did not know I had any Bolivianos remaining. These Argentinian guys kind of smelt like that haven’t been staying in hotels, but they were so generous. They offered me food on several occasions, as I was starving. When we had to cross Lake Titicaca I did not have the Bolivianos. They paid my way for me, until I could pay them back. I was really impressed by those generous gestures.


On the bus ride over here I noticed individuals and families camping out along the shores of Lake Titicaca.  They were people of Indian decent and they have constructed tents from blue tarps and rocks.  I noticed old Indian women who were looking out over the lake while tending the sheep. It is a beautiful view. These families and people looked content. It reminded me of how little we really need in order to enjoy life.


I was thinking about how people often confuse the means for the end.  We need food, water, shelter, and warmth.  We need these things so we can survive and live our lives in relative comfort. We don’t have life just so that we can acquire more of these things. In the recent past I have been surrounded by people who appeared to be living mostly to acquire more material status. For the most part these people appeared lonely and unfulfilled, even though they had millions of dollars in the bank. In the American culture it’s very easy to confuse a means for an end. I do it myself but it doesn’t make me happy. I’d like to try to keep focused on the great things that I can do with the life I have been given, rather than obsessing over the accumulation of things I really don’t even need.


I am a little curious about this hotel that I just booked for the New Year’s. It’s in Cuzco. It is new and very cheap.  There were no reviews but I did notice that there was Wi-Fi.  Cuzco is pretty booked up at this time. I guess I will sort it out when I get there.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Reader input, anyone? (Thanks for checking out my blog)