Thursday, January 20, 2011

Don't Go Towards the Dynamite

Cerro Rico in Potosi - The Rich Mountain, currently a major co-operative silver mine and once the main source of Spain's silver.

Two pieces of advice when traveling in Bolivia:

1. If you hear a dynamite blast in the city - go the opposite direction.

2. If someone tells you that you should get out of town for a while because there will probably be riots - get out of town.
Usually I offer this advice directly after telling people that they should definitely go to Bolivia.

You’re probably wondering: how do you know what dynamite sounds like? The answer: you know as soon as you hear it.

While we were in the country the embassy advised all American citizens to leave. This may have had something to do with the fact that the president ejected the American Ambassador. Everywhere we went, and what felt like every day, we could hear people protesting. It was as if protesting were a national sport, and everyone got in on it. If buses weren’t running? It was a protest. If the store was closed? It was a strike.

If we had been aware that the country was in such flux, we probably wouldn’t have gone. Probably. But once we were there, it became a normal part of life. We kept our ears open and followed advice that was always generously given. We never once felt in danger and every person we spoke with was kind and helpful.

I would go back to Bolivia in a heartbeat. And after traveling there, I’ve begun considering traveling to many other places that I would normally shy away from. Because really, if you just stay away from the dynamite blasts and listen when people give you advice, you can probably make it through a lot of different countries.

1 comment:

  1. Nice pic! Glad you had a good trip. I grew up in a town with bomb blasts and such. It's amazing how quickly you get used to it!