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6.21.10: Copacabana, Bolivia

Copacabana day 2

Woke up this morning to find out what exactly this ¨free breakfast¨was all about. The last hostel that offered a free breakfast meant to advertise ¨free rolls with jam¨. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this free breakfast consisted of coffee, juice, cereal, yogurt, a pancake, rolls, and scrambled eggs with cheese and ham.

After breakfast and a warm shower I decided to find out about this massage place that was advertised on a flier at our hostel. I walked up and down the street it was supposed to be located on about 3 or 4 times before I finally gave in and asked a restaurant manager on the street. He informed me that it was located inside of the garage right in front of my eyes. I guess the fact that it was a closed garage with a mural painted on front threw me off. This should have deterred me.
I knocked on the door and after thirty seconds of barking a woman in her 30´s answered the door. I asked her if this was indeed the place advertised for massage which launched her in to a 2 minute Spanish ramble of which I only understood ¨si¨. I followed her into the compound and up a flight of stairs into a room with 3 beds, none of which were a massage table. She told me the price of the massage was $30, I thought, what the hell, even a massage on a bed by a non-english speaking Bolivian woman living in a garage compound is worth $30, so I gave it a go. She left the room to give me some privacy before the massage and put on some music. I got comfy i got comfy under the covers and waited.. and waited... and waited and waited. I had no idea what she was doing but a 15 minute wait longer she returned with an inscent and a candle. After lighting them and talking to me briefly in incomprehensible Spanish, she left the room again to turn on music which she had previously forgotten to do. Apparently getting a candle, inscent, AND turning on music was a mental overload.
The music, a mix between belly-dancing, Indian music and revolutionary war musket in hand, pump you up for war instrumentals, was supposed to relax me, she said. She started at my feet. Nothing too special, poking and prodding, rather than kneading. Just then, my skin started feeling really tingly and cold. That´s when I realized that she was massaging me with and IcyHot type substance... maybe the Bolivians version of Tiger Balm. I don´t know exactly... but it was cold.
Now, I´m the type of person who doesn't particularly like to be talked to during massage. I´d prefer just to zone out and tranquilize. So what a special treat it was when the woman would not stop yammering away in Spanish. At first I tried to respond with ¨no entiendo¨(I don´t understand) or ¨no say¨(I don´t know) but that just spurred her on more, as if explaining her previous question using more Spanish would help my understanding. So, I changed my approach and just answered everything with ¨Si¨.. everything ¨Si¨. I would have thought that eventually she´d realize that I was merely agreeing out of incompetence and cease the conversation but I think she just thought I was legitimately congenial. I did make an attempt to understand what she was saying, and normally I absorbed most of it, it just took me a minute. Half way through my massage, body shivering from the IcyHot permeating my muscles, the massage was still a weird combination of jabbing, jostling and gibberish. I understood that she had told me that, not only was she a massage therapist, but she was also a Reiki master. She was also telepathic, she said. She told me, using her ¨powers¨that I was very intelligent, I read a lot, I am an Aries, and that I am the middle of two sisters. Bulls-eye on the intelligent part... however, I don´t read books as much as I skim the tv guide and I am a Virgo with no siblings. Close but no cigar.
By this time I am counting down the minutes, singing 99 bottles of beer in my head, hoping that each lumbering squeeze of skin would be the last. Finally it was over. I threw on my clothes like a bat out of hell, paid and thanked her and got the hell out of there! Word of advice... skip the massage next time you´re in Bolivia.

After the lovely massage ¨therapy¨I went for a burger at a chill little bar that was broadcasting the world cup. Patty, bacon, cheese, lettuce, cucumber, and egg. Hit the spot! After the deliciousness, we walked down to the lake.

We had seem something about horseback riding the day before and decided to go check it out. As we walked along the boardwalk, amongst all the lake front restaurants, we saw some horses tied up. Although there was no one standing by them, normally all you have to do is go stand by something you want, be that a restaurant, hostel, or boat, and someone will approach you, so we started walking toward the horses. As I got closer, I saw the condition of the horses, patches of skin missing, hip bones protruding, obvious malnutrition. It was just not cool, so we decided to pass.
Instead we went and stood next to a giant duck-shaped paddle-boat and a woman approached, told us that it was 10 Bolivianos ($1.40) per half hour and just that simply we were paddling out into the glimmering sea.
Our duck was sort of handicapped and didn´t go as fast as i´d have liked it to... it was no speed duck.
But it was nice just cruising around the bay area and I got some great shots of the land from out in the water.

We shopped some more,ate some ice cream,
read next to the lake,
bought a boat ticket for Isle Del Sol for the following morning, grabbed some grub from the ¨Bamboo Restaurant¨and passed out.

Posted by emichele 17:54 Archived in Bolivia

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