Thursday, July 26, 2007

The last time I was in Copacabana, Bolivia I proposed to my wife. But let´s forget about that fatefull day and talk about the time before that. The time I came out with a few friends. Copacabana was a small place on Lake Titicaca where the electricity was cut off at 11PM and the place remained lighted by coleman lanterns. It was very neat to see. My friends and I hired a man and his small outboard motored boat to take us to the Island of the Sun. It takes about an hour to get there across the lake. I have a picture of the man in my flickr page in both the Bolivia and the Portraits set if you care to have a look.

We arrived on the island at the bottom of a stairway built but the Inca a thousand years before we started up to the top. Water from an artesian well flowed down one side of the stairway. We were the only people in sight until a few small children came by offering some handicrafts for sale. We bought a few things and then headed back down to the boat and back to Copacabana.

We ate the trout from the lake in a small restaurant. A nice big portion served with rice, potato, and salad. We joked with the owners and headed back to La Paz as the only foreigners on the bus.

Yesterday I arrived again with my wife of now 25 years and our two youngest kids. The bus stopped first at the Hotel Utama. Utama means "your house" in Aymara. We liked the rooms we were shown and the hotel in general so we decided to stay there. We had lunch which consisted of a small salad then a wonderful barley soup and finally the trout entree. I was disappointed to see what I am sure was a filet of farmed trout. (the farms started up sometime ago) Oh well, it was delicious.

My wife wanted very badly to go to the Island of the Sun, so of course it was in the plans. We walked down to the beach and I was surprised to see 20-30 large boats and about the same number of the silly paddle boats. We got there just in time to get on a boat with about 30 other tourists. Now I´m talking young dreadlocked, wrap around sunglasses, dressed like the locals, giant backpack carrying young people. So off we go.

Bad sign number one: I see some of the backpacks have sleeping bags. They allow camping on the island.

Bad sign number two: As we near the island I see that power lines are now strung across the lake to the island.

The worst came when we rounded the bend to the cove where I had jumped from a tiny boat onto abandonment some 28 years before. There were about 20 boats tied up there ranging from a huge lake cruise catamaran to small local fishing boats. And the place where I once stood as only 5 people in sight now had a snack bar......and a public toilet.....and llamas tied up for pictures.......and hippies selling handmade crap.

I was heartbroken.

This island, this lake, are sacred to the Inca.

My wife wanted to climb the Inca Stairway so her, my son, and an army of backpackers headed up the steps. I stayed behind with my daughter and relaxed and I shot a few pictures when the backpackers whe stayed behind got out of my line of sight. I just can´t begin to tell you how disappointed I was that it had come to this but I guess when the local economy is desparate for the money.....

My wife and son came back down after about an hour. My wife had bought some place mats that I knew by looking, were made in Peru. I asked if they had seen some of the things I hade seen in the way of ruins at the top and they hadn´t. Then my son told me that situated at the top of the Inca Stairway was a, I SHIT YOU NOT, a pizzeria. We piled on the boat for the trip back and although the sun was shining brightly it was about 40 degress tops.

So now we get back to Copacabana and I walk up the street from the beach to the main plaze. More dismay. The small restaurants I remember are gome. In their place are more hippies selling handmade crap and menu boards offering lasagna and tacos and vegetarian dishes and money change houses and karaoke bars and hippie type patio bar/restaurants and even an internet cafe where I sit now, the morning after.

Last night I was awoken by the sound of rain and then hail on the roof of the hotel. I looked out the window and thought of all those campers on the sacred Island of the Sun and I laughed. The revenge of the Inca.

I walked around town this morning as all the backpackers slept and it felt like the old days again. I snapped some pictures and walked down side streets. I felt something hit me in the shoulder and I though it was watter dripping from one of the roofs. I looked up and saw that could´nt be the case. Then I held my gaze upward and a head poked out from the roof. I had been spat on. You know what? From the Copacabana that I knew all those years ago, and what it´s become now, I can´t blame the guy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hello sports fans. We are here in an area known as El Chapare (chah PAH ray). About a four hour ride from Cochabamaba (Koh cha BOMB bah). Think of the movie Romancing The Stone and you will know what the place looks like. We came in after dark so we have yet to see much of the place. The hotel has free internet so I figured I would give you an update.

We are all fine. My wife got sick after eating a fried guinea pig (no, I am not kidding). We figure that the oil they used was a little old.

Still no luck with any wifi and the pics are on my laptop. There is some REALLY GOOD shots.

Place nice together until I get back.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

We arrived in Bolivia last night to be greeted by hugs and kisses and the news of the passing of my bro-in-law´s mother-in-law. So this morning we were able to attend the funeral and show our love and support to his wife and her family.

The kids are in love with Bolivia. We went shopping in the market and my internet addicted son said something that warmed my heart. We were sitting on the sofa staring out the window and he looked at me and said ¨I´m not doing a thing but I´m not bored.

I got some great shots and hope to figure out how to get them on to my flickr from here so you can see them sooner than later.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Tomorrow we fly. A day at the beach of Venice and then down to Bolivia. I'm going to concentrate on the Flickr account and may not post to the blog at all. So look to the right for new pics and hopefully some will have trip updates or explainations. We get back sometime around August the 3rd. Just in time for Vancouver's Pride Parade.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

"I'm sorry, we tried but we couldn't bring him back"

Your assignment today is to tell your father that you love him.

Friday, July 06, 2007

My father loved ice cream. Sometimes he'd eat two bowls.

Today I ate two bowls of ice cream.

My father loved to watch golf on TV and sometimes he'd fall asleep in his chair.

Today I fell asleep in my chair watching golf on TV.

My father taught me to play and enjoy playing golf.

Today I went out and played 18 holes of golf in memory of the last time we played together.

Three years ago.


The morning is beautiful.....and quiet, if only for a few more minutes

I'm not a morning person since I usually get up before it begins and spend most of it dealing with morons. But since I am on vacation, and not just days off where I worry about the time flying too fast, I have noticed that the sunny summer mornings are quite lovely. Add that I am listening to one of the gifts I got for my brother-in-law and it's realy very nice. Yesterday I bought him a player for the used iPod I bought for him.

You bought your bro-in-law a USED iPOD?!?!?!?!

Yes interuption breath, I bought him a USED iPod. You see a good friend of mine wanted to buy a 60 gig iPod and wanted to sell his used 30 gigger. I told him that I would LOVE to buy it and I offered him more than he paid for it new.


Because, capital letter screaming breath, my good friend has impeccable musical taste and an amazing collection of jazz.


And now my brother-in-law will have one of, if not THE best jazz collections in Bolivia. You see, before you interrupted I was going to explain that my friend left the iPod full of music and even tweeked it to make it better.

OH! So how much music is on the thing?

Well if my brother-in-law turned the iPod on continuous play and started with the first song and left the player on 24/7 he would hear the first song repeat in.......17 days.


You're shouting again foot in mouth breath. My bro-in-law is going to be floored. He SO deserves something like this. It's going to be tons of fun watching his face when i tell him the 17 day part.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The good news is that's it's all confirmed

We have our iternerary.

We leave on the 10th which is 5 days later than we wanted to.

Vancouver to Los Angeles where we overnight.

Los Angeles to San Salvador, El Salvador for an hour and a half.

San Salvador to Lima, Peru for three hours.

Lima to La Paz, arriving just after midnight.

Cheap tickets = this process, but we all get there for a third of the price.

Los Angeles isn't bad. A car rental and we zip up to the always interesting Venice. San Salvador over night would have been very interesting but with all that luggage? The luggage IS a worry with that routing. Fingers crossed.




My son Dan performing at the Vans Warped Tour
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I spent the afternoon taking in the sights and sounds of the 2007 Vancouver edition of the Vans Warped Tour

Tuesday, July 03, 2007





Port Coquitlam, BC. was chosen as one of the sites for a 7/11 convenience store to be converted to a Kwik E Mart in promotion the The Simpsons movie.

God only knows why.

Maybe to test our devotion to the program

I'm surprised that I'm not ill

Because I'm so stressed. We fly (alledgedly) in two days and I don't know our itinerary. You see, I bought these really cheap tickets through a broker who is the friend of a friend I trust and the way it works is that I should get confirmation either today or tomorrow as to our flights.

That's the way it works.

But it's stressing the shit out of me. You see, I'm Santa Claus in July and the sled is mostly ready. All I need are the raindeer and they're out in the forest somewhere and the elves are assuring me that they're on the way.

The kids have been good all year.

But I have no fucking raindeer and oh so little faith in people.

Breathe big guy. It's going to be okay. You have flexability just in case. You're on vacation and you don't have to be back at work until August the 7th.

On the side notes I am worried about my lap top. Most of Bolivia operates on 220 volts. My bro-in-law tells me that the wifi down there just sucks. I am fairly sure that I can post on the blog. There's lots of internet cafes. But I want to post to my Flickr account. I'm sure I'll find a way. I want very much for you to see what I'm seeing.

It may be sporatic. Of course, with as occupied as my time will be.....


Breathe big guy, breathe.

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