June 16, 2007
Laguna Glaciar Trek Day 4
We got up at dawn again, had breakfast, and took down camp. The walk back to Sorata only took about two hours, and we passed many farming communities along the way. In many remote locations, kids in such villages would ask what my name is and where I'm from out of curiosity, but here they just said â€œregalame" (give me a gift), an annoying consequence of the well-intentioned tourists who have come here in the past without thinking of the long-term ramifications of their actions. The most common gift people give kids is candy, which is definitely harmful to someone who will never use a toothbrush. Other people give money, which just teaches the kids that they can get something for nothing. This does more harm than good for the villagers in the long run, and for me it turns an opportunity for an interesting cultural exchange into an annoyance. It makes me want to walk faster rather than slow down and meet some of the local people.
Back in Sorata, I showered, washed my clothes, and aired out my tent, which was still wet from the morning's frost. The bad thing about camping is that if you pack your tent when it's wet and don't take it out for a few days, it will be covered with mold. Luckily, it didn't take long to get everything dry because it was another warm and sunny day.
I decided to head back to La Paz tonight. On the way back I met some nice cholitas, Amerindians who still speak Aymara and dress traditionally. One of them told me that she wanted to go to the ocean someday to see whales jumping. It was sad to hear her say that because I know it will probably never happen. Bolivia doesn't have a coastline, after all. I was exhausted by the time I got back to La Paz, so I went to bed early.
The photo album for this entry is here.