We were lucky; the bus to Sucre was only one hour late. We literally had to jump into the bus. Bolivian busses are always an adventure! This one was another indescribably uncomfortable one. I truly saw the most disgusting bathroom of my life and the worst part was, not piing in it was not an option. Further up the road, we got bombarded by kids; they would throw water balloons at us. They knew exactly where to throw, because the next 15minutes I had water dripping on me. Later, I got to know that this only happens during carnival, it’s a miner tradition, to purify your body. Though, in this case, I think it was just a children’s joke.
During his biking trips, 40 years ago, my father met Africans who had never seen a white man before. They would touch his skin and hair, in bewilderment. I wonder what it was like to meet people who were discovering something new. An experience where there is no money involved, where no one is afraid of the other. What it must have felt like to not be looked at as a white man, not being treated like a gringo or a muzungu (white man). One thing is sure, now I know what it feels like to be “the foreigner” and I must say, most people are just waiting for you to make the first step. We often obtain a smile, just by saying “hola”, which means hi in Spanish.
To finish, a little anecdote, a pickup full of children drove by, they saw us working in the river, they all started yelling, “Gringo! Gringo!”. We all started laughing and yelled back “Wowowoooohoo!”. I turned the position around, lets wonder what would happen if we would cross, for example, Matongé, the African corner of Brussels, in a pickup, as they do, while yelling “Hey black man! Hey black man!”, as they yell “Muzungu! Muzungu!” I think we would have serious problems. ;o)) I believe Europe seriously needs to chill!