Friday, September 15, 2006

The Morning After: Point for Bolivia

Bolivia has a way of tempting you to enjoy all it offers late into the night, even in a way my college days could not rival. In college, the bars close at 2:00 AM, but here, here the night goes well into the morning. Perhaps it is just the Latin American culture that has us playing by these crazy rules, or perhaps it is that a full Litre of beer costs a little less than US $1.50. Whatever the reason, inevitably you are spun up into the night life, enthralled in the newness and excitement of it all. Before you know it, your night out has turned into your morning journey home, desperatley hoping to catch some sleep before the sun wakes from its own slumber.

But unlike those late college nights that at least offered quality sleep well into the afternoon, mornings in Bolivia are anything but friendly to the late night socializer. Take my morning for example.

First there was the three phone calls that went unanswered in my house between 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM. Then again, the dogs that aimlessly wander the streets have a habit of howling and barking at all hours of the night and morning, as was the case at 8:30 AM but this time, a rooster, dwelling somewhere in my urban neighbourhood joined the harmonious cacophony. I wish I could say it ends there, but minutes later, another early morning favorite of mine made his pressence known: the young and ambitious paperboy, walking up and down the street shouting ¨Los Tiempos¨ over and over, louder and louder, as the urgency to compete with yet another morning distraction becomes a bigger goal than newspaper sales itself. For at the same time, the old and rickety fruit truck comes bouncing down my unpaved, stone laden street with a loudspeaker similar to those from the free concert I attended last night, but this time, the announcements are anything but music to my tired ears: oranges, papaya, apples, bananas, and more.

I roll over, reasoning, logically in my sleep induced state, that if I just turn my head away from the paper thin wall all the exterior noises will cease to exist, and sleep, much needed sleep, will again be mine.

I wish the story ended there, but sadly that is not the case. The neighborhood rent a cop station is one house down. I can´t explain the reasoning, but here in Bolivia, the cop blows a loud and irritating whistle nonstop. Again, why is beside me, especially in these early morning hours. And so I decide it is time to rise out of bed. Point for Bolivia and all its distractions day and night, and no point trying to catch sleep in the midst of it all.

Later in the day, tiredness sets in, and I long for my bed, but distractions this time come from within the house: three little nieces that need me, a dance instructor with no dance experience, an entertainer perhaps entertaining only because he is foreign and at this moment not equipped with the language skills to talk his way out of the situation which will eventually wear him down even more.

But somehow, it gradually all comes together. The noise never ceases, but somehow, when I need it to, the exhaustion does and I find myself swinging my favourite 5, 6 and year old around the ballroom floor that is our living room. There is no music, not even an ounce of experience, only words I can not understand, but words that are accompanied with laughter and joyous screams, followed by the best laugh you could ever ask for.

This time, I smile as I think: point for Bolivia, and for me, point taken.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ha! Wait 'til you get old. Then 10pm seems like an all nighter and the air conditioning coming on is enough to wake you up.