Friday, June 24, 2011

Road Babe Dispatch From Lake Titicaca

Shortly after getting his bell rung by Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson said, “I guess I’m gonna fade into Bolivian.” He did - a metaphorical Bolivia of prison and obscurity, until two Hangover cameos resurrected him like Lazarus. On the bus leaving Copacabana, I received a crushing blow from my pack falling off the overhead rack onto my sweet sleeping face. Whether it's Bolivia or oblivion, they’re both full of surprises.

The first hotel I stumbled into had a panoramic view of the sunset over Lake Titicaca for ten dollars a night. The glowing fireball dipped behind the horizon lined with dozens of silhouetted boats and framed in glacier-capped mountains. I wandered the darkening streets looking for a spot to catch a bite. Several dealers approached me with consumable wares. Copacabana held the night and spit out the unwanted like a fit of indigestion. Icy June breezes crackled between buildings where people called out from the shadows. I walked into a seedy tavern that I fell out of inebriated hours later.

Copacabana didn’t seem so sinister by daylight. European hippies with dreads sold hand made everything and tourists rode Flintstone-style pedal-boats close to the shore. As I boarded a vessel bound for Isla del Sol, I was pressed to admit that this body of water wasn’t the ocean.

An hour and a half later, I arrived on the sacred Inca island surrounded by rocky outcrops popping up like fingers through the water’s surface. The hills were covered in ancient ruins and little girls in straw bonnets selling woven blankets. Lake Titicaca: sucking life from the Andes' nipple then bringing it to the community in the form of fresh water and tourists like me.

While one might fade into oblivion, one can't slip out of Bolivia. Just when the bag smacked my head, I woke up to border agents waving flashlights and semi-automatic weapons inside the bus. If Bolivia guarded their drugs like they guard their frontiers, the world would perceive them quite differently.

Mittie Babette Roger is from Louisiana but lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University and authored the book It's Better to Visit the Shaman Without Questions to Ask. She travels the world volunteering to help disadvantaged children and promoting Blue Iguana Tequila to empower serious drinkers.

1 comment:

  1. That is funny--Bolivian!! In the same funny vein as when Charles Barkley said "It was surreal...I don't know what that means but I thought it sounded good." You gave me my first laugh of the day & great post too!