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10 Weird Things About Bolivia

By , 19 September 2011

10 Weird Things About Bolivia

Most travelers going through Bolivia hit the tourist attractions on the west side of the country before heading to Chile. Somehow I managed to spend nearly three months in Bolivia. My friends are intrigued by how long I spent there, so I thought I'd make a little list of the best and weirdest things about Bolivia. Clearly they are missing out.

1. Kangaroos Are From Africa

When people ask me where I'm from my stock routine is to make them guess. I have a few clues to help them out and the last is "Where they have kangaroos". In Bolivia I just made this my first clue and the most common response was "Africa?"

10 Weird Things About Bolivia

2. Fat and Round is Sexy

Why else would all the indigenous women be like that? I can only presume that the original Bolivian men had a preference for women who could travel by rolling.

3. The Bus Stops in No-Mans-Land

It was freezing outside, we hadn't seen a building for at least an hour and the horizon was barren. Then someone stopped the bus to get off. Where on earth where they going? I have no idea, but it happened often enough.

4. Sloths

When I saw this sloth in the park I thought it was a gremlin, or perhaps an alien from another planet coming to steal all our water. I tried to warn the locals, but they seemed pretty used to it.

5. Driving on Roundabouts

Although traffic rules are generally non-existent, vehicles on a roundabout do give way to those which are entering the roundabout. I don't know whose fantastic idea this was, but judging by the chaos it results in I wouldn't recommend proposing it to your local government.

6. Change Sweet Change

Like most countries in South America, Bolivia has a perpetual shortage of change. In Bolivia, instead of change you may get lollies of equivalent value (at least I hope they were equivalent value).

7. Los Menonitas

That sounded a lot more like German than Spanish, I thought as I passed another strange looking man in britches and a cowboy hat. Actually, it was German. Sort of. Somehow a community of people originally from Germany with this unique fashion sense has established itself around Santa Cruz.

8. Virgins Are Everywhere

Virgin de Cotoca, Virgin de Fatima, Virgin Maria. It seems like most of the streets and landmarks are named after virgins. I wondered vaguely how the population was maintained with so many virgins around, until I noticed the...

9. Teen mothers

Despite the reverence of virginity it looks like business as usual for most young Bolivians. In this case, "usual" means getting pregnant at sixteen, married at twenty-one and divorced at twenty-five. This may be happening because...

10. Weddings Are Cheap

I got married in Bolivia in for less than $2 including wedding cake. Sadly our photographer flaked on emailing the photos and my girlfriend confiscated my wedding ring.

But that is another story for another time.


About Roger Keays

10 Weird Things About Bolivia

Roger Keays is an artist, an engineer, and a student of life. Since he left Australia in 2009, he has been living as a digital nomad in over 40 different countries around the world. Roger is addicted to surfing. His other interests are music, psychology, languages, and finding good food. Click here to subscribe to his weekly blog, or stalk him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Comment posted by: Otro Gringo en Bolivia, 2 years ago

So it's not just me who cannot figure out why cars on roundabouts wait for those entering roundabouts.

I tell people I'm from New Zealand, I never expect anyone to know where that is, and then elaborate that it's in the Pacific Ocean, nobody (apart from my wife's immediate family, who have looked it up) knows where the Pacific Ocean is. I don't say this to make fun of Bolivians, but just to emphasis and empathise with what Pedro wrote above, the literacy rate and level of education is very very low here. This is because of previous governments neglecting to educate the rural people. They are a product of their educational system (or lack thereof), just like we from the OECD are. However the people are generally polite and would take their shirts of their backs to help you. They prefer to give you too much change than too little. 

Los menonitas son descendientes de Alemanes, aparte de los que vivan en Paises Bajos. (http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menonita).



Comment posted by: PEDRO ALBORNOZ, 2 years ago

This post is absolutely ethnocentric and serves only to highlight the author's ignorance, sexism and shallowness. I am Bolivian and am offended by it. Though he makes fun of people who think kangaroos are from Africa (Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America and has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world), he stupidly comments that the Menonite community is German - they are, in fact, Dutch descendants (as he would have found out if he weren't too busy pointing his finger and scratching his tiny balls while he laughed like the ass he is); his comment on "fat is sexy" is just plain disgusting: " original Bolivian men had a preference for women who could travel by rolling". WTF? Did you even take the time to try to get to know the people around you, you imbecile?  The bus stops in no man's land BECAUSE PEOPLE HAVE TO FUCKING PEE, YOU ASSHOLE!  And you never saw a sloth? What, there were no cute little animal coloring books in Moronic University? 

Comment posted by: coocoo, 4 years ago

i love my gamgam

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