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Trip to Bolivia

the-hefay July 16, 2014, 2:22 am
I recently had a two week trip to Bolivia. I had some great experiences and language practice there. I even had an opportunity to present a 5 minute address to a small church without a translator. That one made my brain hurt.

I highly recommend a trip to a Spanish speaking country for anyone learning Spanish. It's a great way to force oneself to use the language in a practical way, whether it's reading signs and menus or asking about items being sold or just friendly greetings.
Trip to Bolivia
Aurora Hemminger July 16, 2014, 3:57 am
Tell us about your trip to Bolivia. Do they get lot of tourists? Where is Bolivia located. How's the weather? Are the people friendly? How about the food? Did you visit any large Churches and museums? Was your speech extemporaneous? Were the locals receptive to your Spanish? A friend just got assigned to Paraguay and I started to google about Paraguay. It was very interesting. I enjoyed Dan H24 sharing his trip to Cuba. Do you need a visa for Bolivia?
Trip to Bolivia
Dan-H24 July 16, 2014, 11:02 am
Yes, tell us more! One of the great things about this forum is being able to learn new things about places to which we have not (yet) been.

I had never been too much interested in traveling to South America until I spent time talking with a Peruana and learned many things about her country. Now I very much would like to visit there.
Trip to Bolivia
the-hefay July 16, 2014, 2:05 pm
Let me begin by saying that I've actually been to Boliva twice. My reason for going there is because I have a friend who is a missionary in a small village south east of Sucre.

A visa is required for Americans. It's good for 5 years and up to 3 separate 30 day trips per year. A letter of invitation from someone within the country or hotel reservations is required to obtain the visa but not necessary for re-entry.

Most of my time was spent in a rural part of Bolivia and so I only was able to visit one museum. It was mostly an archeological museum; lots of pottery, tools, and other various artifacts.

Bolivia does have some tourism, but nothing compared with many other South and Central American countries...Read More
Let me begin by saying that I've actually been to Boliva twice. My reason for going there is because I have a friend who is a missionary in a small village south east of Sucre.

A visa is required for Americans. It's good for 5 years and up to 3 separate 30 day trips per year. A letter of invitation from someone within the country or hotel reservations is required to obtain the visa but not necessary for re-entry.

Most of my time was spent in a rural part of Bolivia and so I only was able to visit one museum. It was mostly an archeological museum; lots of pottery, tools, and other various artifacts.

Bolivia does have some tourism, but nothing compared with many other South and Central American countries. I feel that this is due in part to being land locked. The resorts just aren't there. That being said, there are great opportunities for "active" tourism such as hiking, biking, canyoneering, mountain climbing, etc.

The people are friendly while the more rural groups also tend to be more shy.

As far as my little presentation went, it was not extemporaneous. I had written it down and worked and reworked it with my friend. The people I was going to be talking to were Quechuan and so their Spanish is somewhat adulterated or mixed with the Quechua language. So my friend wanted to make sure that the vocab/grammar I used was understandable. Actually, he said that my first draft was good enough to be understood by most of the people but we both wanted me to polish it up so to speak for my own practice as well as for the ease of understanding on the listener's part. I read it to a local school teacher that I met there (that's another story) and then had him proof read it. He made 2 corrections that he said were minor and he complimented me on my grammar. He then asked if he could keep my draft. Of course I was honored to let him have it.

I'll write more later. Right now I need to get something to eat and then hit the sack. I'm on graveyards this week. In Bolivia you don't want to say adios so I'll leave you with ciao.

ciao,
Jeff
Trip to Bolivia
Patrice-B July 16, 2014, 2:58 pm
¡Qué casualidad! Esta mañana con mi palabra del día calendario y leí sobre un lugar de Bolivia se llama "Salar de Uyuni". It is the largest salt flat on Earth. It had me looking at my map to see the location of Bolivia. "Landlocked" it is sharing borders with Chili, Peru, Brazil, Paragua, y Argentina! I too will look forward to reading more from Jeff about this country.
Trip to Bolivia
the-hefay July 17, 2014, 3:00 am
A little about the geography and ecology. Bolivia is roughly the size of Texas and California. Though not geographically large it is a country of extremes. The elevation ranges from 295 ft to 21,460 ft. It has an almost complete gamut of ecosystems from tropical rain forest to alpine snow caps. Because of it's proximity to the equator, palm trees are able to grow at very high elevations. I do not know what the limit is, but there are palm trees growing at 11,700 ft in La Paz at the Plaza Avaroa. Here in Wyoming, 11,700 ft is rock only; definitely no trees at that elevation. Being in the mountains in Bolivia is much different than being in the Rocky Mountain regions of the US due to the fact that timberline is so much higher. I felt like I was in the mountains and yet the vegetation tried to convince me that I was at a much lower elevation...Read MoreA little about the geography and ecology. Bolivia is roughly the size of Texas and California. Though not geographically large it is a country of extremes. The elevation ranges from 295 ft to 21,460 ft. It has an almost complete gamut of ecosystems from tropical rain forest to alpine snow caps. Because of it's proximity to the equator, palm trees are able to grow at very high elevations. I do not know what the limit is, but there are palm trees growing at 11,700 ft in La Paz at the Plaza Avaroa. Here in Wyoming, 11,700 ft is rock only; definitely no trees at that elevation. Being in the mountains in Bolivia is much different than being in the Rocky Mountain regions of the US due to the fact that timberline is so much higher. I felt like I was in the mountains and yet the vegetation tried to convince me that I was at a much lower elevation. I did not spend much time in the lower elevations but my friend has seen monkeys and banana trees in those areas. Most of my trip was in the area south and east of Sucre which is a mountainous area with a rainy season and a dry season. I was there during the transition of seasons to dry and I must say that it really reminded me of parts of Wyoming to Arizona. Rugged landscape with brushy vegetation and a great variety of cacti in all sizes. (albeit at quite a difference in elevation)

Hasta la próxima vez.
Jeff
Trip to Bolivia
Dan-H24 July 17, 2014, 12:45 pm
Su reportaje es muy interesante, Jeff. Gracias por compartiendo con nosotros. ¡Las palmas a 12,000 pies...increible!

Saludos,
Dan
Trip to Bolivia
the-hefay July 18, 2014, 12:53 am
Me gusta la fotografía. Así diría ¿Puedo sacar su foto por favor?

Any ideas where I learned that phrase? Variations of this was one of my most used phrases. Sometimes the answer was no but often it was yes. The older people tended to be less open for pictures of themselves, while the younger people were very open. In fact they had their camera phones even in the rural villages. We were able to go into a couple of public schools where my friend was allowed to teach a religion class. In both places the teachers let me have a lot of freedom with my camera so I have a number of pictures of the school kids. The schools were in even more rural settings than where my friend lived and the kids were fascinated with the camera...Read More
Me gusta la fotografía. Así diría ¿Puedo sacar su foto por favor?

Any ideas where I learned that phrase? Variations of this was one of my most used phrases. Sometimes the answer was no but often it was yes. The older people tended to be less open for pictures of themselves, while the younger people were very open. In fact they had their camera phones even in the rural villages. We were able to go into a couple of public schools where my friend was allowed to teach a religion class. In both places the teachers let me have a lot of freedom with my camera so I have a number of pictures of the school kids. The schools were in even more rural settings than where my friend lived and the kids were fascinated with the camera. One boy finally got brave enough to ask me to take a picture of some other kids playing soccer. That broke the ice. I was quickly surrounded by 12-14 kids talking 100 miles an hour in what sounded to me like a mix of Spanish and their native Quechua. Just like here in the US they all wanted to see the display on the back to see the picture. It was very enjoyable to hear them get excited as the called out each other's names from the back of the camera. At one school the teacher, Alfredo, even interrupted his lesson to tell me I could take pictures of him teaching. My friend said the teachers enjoyed my interaction with the kids and he, my friend, said that things like that go a long way in building trust with the locals.

Later, we found out that Alfredo often stayed in the same village as my friend because his mother was there. I was able to give him a calendar I had made consisting of Bible verses and photos I had taken of Wyoming. He loved it and said he looked forward to translating the words to Spanish and I believe Quechua. The next day he brought me a small gift and that's when he proofed my talk for me.

Alfredo also wants me to make a similar calendar next year, but with Bolivia photos. We'll have to wait and see on that one.
Trip to Bolivia
the-hefay July 18, 2014, 2:54 pm
Also, the reason you don't say adiós in Bolivia, is because that word is reserved mostly for funerals and other dealings with the dead. It seems to be used almost exclusively as a commendation of the dead person to God and is viewed poorly when stated to a living person when parting. They do use hasta luego, buenos días, buenas tarde, and buenas noches for partings.

Among the Quechua people the common salutation is "buen día" spoken very slurred if that is even possible. And you usually say it to everyone. If you walk past 3 people sitting on a bench, you make eye contact and say "buen día" 3 times. Each one of them will also say "buen día" to you and also to everyone in your group. So if 2 people walk past 3 people it would said 12 times...Read More
Also, the reason you don't say adiós in Bolivia, is because that word is reserved mostly for funerals and other dealings with the dead. It seems to be used almost exclusively as a commendation of the dead person to God and is viewed poorly when stated to a living person when parting. They do use hasta luego, buenos días, buenas tarde, and buenas noches for partings.

Among the Quechua people the common salutation is "buen día" spoken very slurred if that is even possible. And you usually say it to everyone. If you walk past 3 people sitting on a bench, you make eye contact and say "buen día" 3 times. Each one of them will also say "buen día" to you and also to everyone in your group. So if 2 people walk past 3 people it would said 12 times. From my experience this is only in the rural Quechua villages. I never observed this pattern in any city.
Trip to Bolivia
maha266 September 15, 2014, 1:02 am
yes, when someone travel somewhere and understand the language he/she will enjoy being there. and will speed the language learning progressive. Thanks for encouraging.
Trip to Bolivia
Aurora Hemminger November 2, 2014, 2:56 am
My Spanish instructor yesterday talked about her Aunt who died of a heart attack. She said that it is very rude to say someone died. She said it should be someone passed on. That was very strange to me because in my language we use the word death or died when someone did die. Anyway, it is probably the same principle with the word "Adios" versus "Hasta luego"
Trip to Bolivia
Dan-H24 November 2, 2014, 1:31 pm
I read somewhere once that "adios" should be reserved for when you don't expect to see someone again, or at least not see them for a very long time. "Hasta luego," on the other hand, implies that you expect to see the other person again, probably sooner rather than later. But like a lot of other things, this might vary by region or country.

To me, adios is one of those phrases that illustrate the beauty and elegance of the Spanish language. "Go with God" sounds so much more heartfelt and sincere than "goodbye." I have also always loved the response to gracias..."de nada"...it is nothing.
Trip to Bolivia

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