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Currently Location: La Paz, Bolivia, 4000 meters above sea level

06.12.07

Cost of a beer in a bar:  US$1
Song currently stuck in my head: North American Scum, LCD
Soundsystem… a song buy an American band with a strong European
following.

First of all, let me just say it:  La Paz > Antigua, Guatemala.  Some
of you will disagree, but consider for a moment that it might be
because you’re stupid.  If that’s not the case, then you saw some
things that I didn’t, and I saw some great things, so please fill me
in.

I arrived this morning at about 2 after 22 hours of travel touching
the ground in 4 countries.  I was outraged by the price of a sandwich,
some chips, and a drink at the San Jose airport (US$11) and went
hungry instead.  I hate Costa Rica, and there’s a perfect example of
why.  They are so thankless about the influx of tourist money that
they are always far too busy scheming how to bleed you for the most
possible money the greatest number of times to actually provide you
any actual service.  At least it’s starting to cost them.  Expats
moved out en mass, taking their real estate money with them to
neighboring Panama and Nicaragua when the Costa Rican government
finally started squeezing them to hard.  Lots of travelers severely
limit their time there are well solely due to the extortionist prices
that you encounter.  Costa Rica very quickly moved up-market, and then
decided to keep going until they reached diminished-market.  Serves
them right.  Use some of the money for roads and water and we’ll talk,
but I still won’t have much good to say.

Sorry, what was I talking about?  Oh yeah, about being that gringo
walking the streets of La Paz, scouring the shops alternately for
dried llama fetus and emerging market Motorola devices, smiling at the
girls through a discreet plug of coca leaves and modeling my new
Panamanian shirt and jeans while sipping coffee at the local cafes.
It’s nice to dress like an urbanite again, if only for a few days
before I send my loot back to the states.  The altitude sickness isn’t
keeping me down.  I’m sucking wind here and there, but that’s about
it.  I’ve yet to have a drink, though I’m told that the needle burying
barometric here has a strong effect.  After 5 months spent
predominately at the beach this climate refreshes me in a big way.  I
picked up a light pair of gloves and I may grab some level of hoody or
jacket, but for the most part my gear is versatile enough to get me
through without significant supplication.  I think.  We’ll see.  I set
out today way overdressed and was sweating within minutes.  Even now
with my system fully acclimated to the mid-90s, I could walk around in
the sunshine here short sleeves and not suffer, though I was told to
expect 60s.  If this is them than I approve.

From here I acquire some co-horts, my friend Dan and friends of his.
I’m currently staying with a guy named Sean, his fiance, and their
roommate.  Sean may or may not know Dan, we’ll figure that out when he
arrives.  They do know Josh, who is traveling with Dan, and are happy
to show me around and lend me their guest bed.  From here, who knows.
A few days here in town, and some days elsewhere.

I brought my memory card to upload a picture or two, but there’s a lot
of data that’s not there.  I’m a little worried.  I have to check my
other devices.  So no picture today.

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