Today is Census Day in Bolivia — a day that hasn’t come in 10 years, and one that plays out much differently than one might expect.
For the next twenty four hours, the entire country shuts down. Between midnight on November 21 and midnight on November 22 nobody is allowed to leave their houses, let alone go to work — you can be fined up to 3000 Bolivianos ($430!) if you are caught on the streets without a special permit. Even worse: drinking alcohol is prohibited, which I discovered while trying to buy a bottle of Malbec at the grocery store yesterday, as alcohol sales are banned for the day prior as well. It appears that even foreigners and travelers will be talking to the hundreds of thousands of census workers going door to door interviewing people, so I’ll be sure to report on my experience later this week.
It seems the world is trying to tell me that this week wasn’t exactly the worst week to tear a ligament in my foot.
I met a sweet girl named An, (also from Montreal!) who is working in Sucre and was supposed to be in Cochabamba for a conference, which got canceled two hours before it was supposed to start. Welcome to Bolivia. The two of us went to the grocery store yesterday to stock up on food — the kitchen at our hostel is close to non-existant, but we’ve got cold cuts for sandwiches and avocado, tomato and onion to make a homemade batch of guacamole.
I’ve spent the last two days hobbling pathetically around the city — mostly depending on cabs (thank goodness they’re so cheap down here) to get me far distances. I’ve seen a few of the plazas, read several books in a myriad of cafes throughout the city, and even tried Bolivia “mexicano” food — not too bad! Thanks to the very convenient telefericos — cable cars — I was also able to get up to the El Cristo de la Concordia outlook and get a great panoramic view of the city.
The very strong prescription of ibuprofen I’ve been given does wonders for getting rid of the pain in my foot, but there’s no doubt the sprain is still there. I’m trying very hard to have self control and not overextend myself by hurting it even more. So with that in mind, here’s to a serious vacation day of absolute nothingness!