When in Rome

August 26th

Forgive the excessive posting; I know I won´t have Internet access for the next few days, so I am writing yet again while I have the time.

One strange observation I wanted to share: all of the churches in Bolivia are currently tagged with graffiti reading, “Evo is God.¬¥¬¥ This is thanks to President Evo Morales recently trying to take religious education out of the national school curriculum. I¬¥m all for separation of church and state, but Bolivians aren¬¥t. They are really unhappy about the idea of not having their “traditional¬¥¬¥ religion included in their studies. This is a country where one is essentially born Catholic and only the weak stray elsewhere.
Those who agree with Evo, in turn, bought spray paint and coordinated national tagging of the country´s churches. It is seriously heartbreaking. Many of these buildings were built by the Spanish in the 1500 and 1600s and are made of carved stone work. You know they took slave labor once upon a time to construct. They are incredible, and yet now they wear the ugly tattoo of recent politics.

Bolivians do not eat tortillas, nor do they appreciate the influence of Mexico on their culture. They liken this to the Americanization of their culture and it is the gringos fault that they even know what the word gringo means.
Their national bread is crusty french bread, if you can imagine. I´m not sure how it came about, but when in Rome/Paris/Tarija, slather it with some strawberry jam and call it breakfast.

Have I mentioned I am at least a foot taller than any other Bolivian I´ve met? I´ve yet to travel to a country where my height (5´10´´) is the norm. So to my brother and the others who have joked that my stature and the size of my feet are Amazonian, I would just like to point out that no, no they are not. They are very American, with good nutrition during childhood. Amazonian women are much smaller than me. Oy.


I am a wee bit homesick. There, I said it. I miss y´all, with extra emphasis on my family, the Ya Yas, NPR, bagels and my running routine. (Not so much on the heat or commute, though.)

Thank you for the sweet comments many of you have left. I am paying for Internet here by the Boliviano, so I´m not responding to each comment as usual. Forgive me for the time being. I´ll be better when I return. I can´t tell you how nice it is to read your thoughts and well wishes. Mil gracias!

Ciao,
K

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Journal, Travel
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15 Responses

  1. Kelli!
    So nice to see your post this morning. It is heartbreaking to hear about all of the church grafiti. Religious person or not…I think church architecture is some of the most beautiful and it is sad to think that those historic churches are being damaged. Other than that and the homesickness, glad things are going well. Take care and cant wait to read the next installment.

    Eren

  2. Once again, such interesting information. That is so sad about the churches. I love church architecture and hate to see such old buildings ruined. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Hooola! qué bueno, salí fuera y hoy encuentro 2 post, me alegro que todo vaya bien.

    Me dio risa lo de coca cola… “pichaste” coca? eso es ponerla en tu mejilla y masticar, alla lo usan para todo el trabajo pesado, y principalmente la gente mayor, los j√≥venes no tanto.

    Yo tambi√©n me impresionaba al ver a las “cholitas” de mi edad, o incluso m√°s j√≥venes que yo, y con sus hijitos a la espalda… muchas veces las casan sus padres.

    Del mal de Chagas, debes tener cuidado, porque en todas partes se ven vinchucas. Cuidate, y come bien…

    A mi me encanta el pan de Bolivia!!! yummi! después al volver a Chile siempre lo extrañaba un poco.

    un abrazo fuerte y aprovecha tus tiempos y tus oportunidades…

  4. Kelli, I’m glad your having a good trip, and thanks for posting…I’m learning a lot from your travels!

  5. Have you photographed those churches? Would love to see them.

  6. Hey Miss K – thanks for posting, you write so eloquently about your travels, the culture and the people.

  7. What is up with all the graffiti on such important historical landmarks? People ask me that all the time about Rome too–I guess when you live with it you appreciate it less. Such a shame.

    Love the little observations like about tortillas…here in Rome no Italian would ever dream of drinking a cappuccino after dinner, but they offer it to all the foreigners in the restaurants…go figure…like you say, “When in Rome…”

    Keep safe!

  8. Wow! Sounds like an adventure for sure! Glad you’re having a good time. You are missed in the States, but I am really enjoying reading about your travels!

  9. We miss you more!

    Love,
    The Ya Yas (and the petite Ya Yas)

  10. It is very sad to read of the vandalism on the old churches. Hopefully it will end soon.

    And I had no idea you were tall! I’m 5’9″ (although I try to say I’m 5′ 8 3/4″). I remember on our honeymoon to Mexico I was so much taller than everyone. It was a funny feeling. (Especially because I had waist-length blond hair and I really stuck out like a sore thumb.)

  11. I miss you, too Donk! But I’m so proud of the work you’re doing there — and you’re bringing information to us that we probably wouldn’t have gotten otherwise – which is great :0)

    You’ll be home eating tortillas in no time.

  12. Glad to know you are well…it has been great reading all your comments on Bolivia. It is like I get to travel without the packing and the unpacking (ugh, I hate unpacking!)

    Stay safe and well and enjoy your journey!

  13. Keep up the good, important work! I so enjoy reading about it. It reminds me of me when I was 26 and living in India. And take care of yourself. We all miss you too.

    Cheers! Lori

  14. wow- I haven’t been checking here because I didn’t realise you’d be posting, but this morning checked just to be sure.. and caught up with all your writing about Bolivia. I love your writing and anecdotes, especially about the women having their 3rd and fourth babies, same age as me… You write so well and I am totally drawn into your travels as well!
    Take care, hugs from NZ, Melissa xxx

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