Feliz sábado de Bolivia

Earth Image is back in Bolivia, with fabulous photos and commentary of his life there. Below, his copy, his photos. Enjoy, and thanks for bringing us along EI.

This trip to Bolivia has been a changed experience for me. A well-seasoned observer of new-comers to Dominican Republic told me once: At the outset, they either love it or hate it. After a few weeks, they settle into a period of unhappiness about way things are here. After six months it becomes home, and they are either happy or unhappy as persons, but it has nothing to do with this place.

Well I hit the second phase like a wall when I had to furnish our new lovely condo here. Guess what. Samsung, Bosch and LG appliances cost the same or more here. 30% import duty, 15% Value-added Tax and 25% Capital Gains Tax – no deductions. Furniture, computers and all non-local items just as expensive as NY. 5 gal water jug $7 deposit + $5 for the water; gas $2.20 / gal; good cheap wine $7/bottle; “James Bond” martini (shaken) $7.

But then my happy person side kicks in and I see blue skies, great grass-feed organic beef, and taxi rides anywhere in Town for $ 1.40 – so there is a reason I’m here. I rented office space at the local economics research institute for $35/month including 10 cappuccinos (that’s a deal.)

I included some peeps photos of beggars and workmen. Whether to give is always a dilemma. I asked one beautiful little Aymara girl what she wanted the money for, and she answered in Spanish, “a little bite to eat.”





There are bike trails and new buildings everywhere…




A $5 million bike trail planking right over storm ditches.

Just back from the street market…



More building building everywhere…………


9 thoughts on “Feliz sábado de Bolivia

  1. EI: Remind me, are you in LaPaz? I know you’ve blogged here about what town you are in but it’s a rainy Saturday here and I’m too lazy to look up the old posts.

    Democracy in Bolivia?

    Excellent peep pix.

  2. Presently I am hanging out in Bolivia at El Centro de Estudios de la Realidad Económica y Social “CERES”, in Cochabamba near the fictional hacienda of Carlos Sosa, Cocaine magnate from the Scarface movie. That’s “Center for Studies in Reality of Economic and Social Orders”, emphasis on Reality.

  3. My interest here, besides the salvation of the world, is the reality of the legal coca leaf industry. The Center’s head is PhD Berkeley 1992. Last week the UN Drug Commission shocked the world by announcing that Bolivia is somewhat above its authorized production level of 50,000 acres of legal coca leaf.

    Google Earth has recently made SPOT 6/7 satellite images available for the nearby Chapare region, showing massive conversion of small plots in the humid forests of the region to you guessed it. Thanks to Yale Forestry School, being an agricultural economist is a really fun gig.

    I am organizing a workshop at the local university to demonstrate “Earth Image” technology to explore the reality of what goes on in the forests of eastern Bolivia.

  4. Questions:
    1. With so much new building, are locals being displaced? The towers don’t look inexpensive.

    2. The photo with the boy pushing a wheelbarrow – it looks handmade, out of copper?

    Sounds like you’ve carved out a great extension of your career and life in Bolivia.

  5. The residents look like a happy lot but are they impoverished? What sustains their economy?

    As EOS said, thanks for taking us along.

  6. Bolivia’s great mineral resources in historical order have been silver, tin and now lithium (a salt.). I suspect the wheelbarrow patina is not copper.

    As to city growth displacing native populations, I see it the oppsite way. For eons, subsistence agricultural allowed human and animal populations to spread thinly over land resources. The Industrial Age and the New World Order have drawn millions into urban centers, emptying out the rural areas.

    A fun part of countries which started way back in the race for modernization is the speed with which they leap forward over others, taking advantage of new technologies. Bolivia was transformed by our own father of the internet, Al Gore, who connected NGOs some 25 years ago to the on-ramp of the information superhighway. I suspect his motives were closely connected to passing control over the war on drugs from the Bush CIA to his own administration.

    How does Bolivia support itself? See http://www.unodc.org/documents/crop-monitoring/Bolivia/2016_Bolivia_Informe_Monitoreo_Coca.pdf

    Even if you don’t read Spanish, follow the pictures and maps to see the rise of a coca fueled economy. We are not talking Coca-cola here.

    Are the people happy? We haven’t heard any complaints yet, beggars excepted. Perhaps a spectacular climate helps.

    1. “You must try to generate happiness within yourself. If you aren’t happy in one place, chances are you won’t be happy anyplace.” Ernie Banks

      Happy trails EI. You enjoy a very full life.

  7. “My Town” is a million plus and growing. The influx is mostly Asian business or investment interests. Both on my daughter’s flight and mine into Bolivia (from Panama and Peru), first class was 100% Chinese. We didn’t come here to join the US ex-pats or the old Nazis.

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