I hired a car and driver to take me around Cochabamba. I chose not to rent a
car on my own because I was going to drive far from the city in search of some
pre-Incan ruins that were not going to be easy to find. In fact, Elio - my driver
had a difficult time finding them despite stopping and asking many villagers
along the way. At one point, we had to drive through a river that crossed
a dirt road and got stuck. Eventually, we found our way. The Lonely Planet
guide had called the ruins the "Machu Picchu of Bolivia". Sorry! No way! They
were disappointing. But the sights I saw along the way made the adventure
As we drove through the countryside, everywhere we went we saw animals marked
in red. Sometimes on the head, sometimes on the back or stomach. Although
I wasn't able to communicate the question "why?", or perhaps (and I think this
is more likely) Elio himself didn't know the answer to the question. I
differences in location of the markings must mean they were a way to mark
Eventually, Elio stopped to show me some cactus. He
managed to make me understand that the cactus was prized as a food. But the
cactus are also infested with a parasite that kills them. When these white-colored
insects are crushed, they create a pretty pastel red - exactly the color of the
markings on the animals. So, whether the markings are for ownership or not,
I think the people crush the insects for dye - both to mark their animals and
to save the cactus.
Women herding sheep in the mountains outside of Cochabamba, Bolivia.
I found these cute little kids in the town of Cliza. When I asked the kids
for the name of one of their mothers so that I could send them the photograph,
one of them responded "Dona Juana".
I stopped for lunch one day in Cliza, Bolivia. This was a quiet little town
with a pleasant plaza.
This is one of the tidy but dusty sidestreets in Cliza, Bolivia.