At the Copa -
Lake Titicaca
March 19, 2007

I’m just shocked that I am even here right now. I only got one hour of sleep last night. I partly blame this on the fact that I had a
television in my room and an episode of ‘Friends’ was on that I had never seen before. Who cared that it was 4:30am…

My internal body clock woke me up at 6:00am. I didn’t have to wake up this early but I decided to go with it since I am sure my
body would have fallen into a deep slumber if I decided to shut my eyes even just for a few seconds. It was a good thing that I used
this logic as once I was leaving my room at 7:00am, I realized that I never got my wake-up call today.

After my last Bolivian bus ride, I opted for the ‘tourist’ bus today. In this part of the world, that means a bus with 95% Israelis and
a few others. It was just nice being on a bus knowing that the number of people on the bus would be equal or less than the number
of seats…and not the other way around.

While on the bus I got to see the beauty of Lake Titicaca: The vivid blue water with snow-covered mountains in the background
and bright green landscape in the foreground. After a short boat ride to the other side, we eventually arrived in the city of
Copacabana that is right on lake. I could immediately tell that a few days of ‘tranquilo’ time lied in my future.

The bonus about being in Bolivia is that even though you are in a great little town on one of the most famous lakes in the world, you
can still pay only $5 US for your own room with private bathroom. After a bit of roaming around, I actually went into the grand
pink hotel that is right at the lake just for curiosity sake to see how much a room there would be. It was only 10 Bolivianos more
than what I am currently paying (this equates to about $6.25 US). I saw a room and not only was it immaculately clean; it also has a
huge window where you see nothing but the blue of the lake. Needless to say, I told them that I am checking in tomorrow morning.

Lunch consisted of a meal of quinoa soup (really good!), grilled trout (as this is what they are known for out here) with rice and
some ice cream. It was about $1.25 US. Insane, huh? I was also treated to music such as the theme to ‘Chariots of Fire’. Not like I
have ever even seen that movie. I only know the song from ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ when Clarke and family are running up
to Wally World before finding out that it is closed. Even while in Bolivia, things can remind a person of Aunt Edna and Marty Moose.
Then I just sat there thinking “Damn, I love that movie.”


Okay. I just got back from dinner. Normally I don’t write about people that I come across that bother me. But I have to make an
exception right now.

There were three of us solo travelers at the restaurant: two guys and me. The two guys were there before I got there and they
were chatting in Spanish for almost the entire time. I was just having fun using eavesdropping as a way to improve my Spanish
skills. A little bit later one of the guys heard a girl across the room mention ‘San Francisco’. He made a comment about it. Turned
out this guy is from San Francisco.

We started talking a bit and he was asking the typical first question everyone in these parts asks: “How long are you traveling for?”
I told him it was a year-long trip around the world. Then he asked where I had been. I started off by saying “The Middle East…” He
then asked where.

Now this was the point where he bothered me…

I told him the different countries. And (of course) the reception to the countries was somewhat of a shaking of the head. He said he
had been to Israel before but that he’s Jewish so he can’t really even think of going to the other places. I told him that I was Jewish
and I had no problems (of course I never advertised I was Jewish when I was out there…but that’s not the point) when I was there.

Now this is the part where it is entirely fascinating to me to see how a person’s mind operates…

He said that the people in the Middle East are all basically like Nazis and that there wasn’t much difference between them. I told
him that is not true. I started by using Lebanon as an example. He did acknowledge that there is a Christian population there. But
then he went right into that everybody out there (i.e. the Muslims in the Middle East) is ‘demonic’. I, obviously, disagreed. He then
started getting defensive about this matter to me. I was like “Hey, I’m Jewish too. I can see where you’re coming from. I’m just
saying that you can’t say all of them are like that.” He then used another f-word adjective to describe them and put everybody in
that part of the world into the exact same box. I did not say anything more because I was not about to get into an argument with a
stranger (who was too stubborn to see any viewpoint but his own) at a restaurant.

I know that there is no love between Israel and the Middle East. Everybody knows that. But it is painful to hear an educated person
stick an entire religion of people as being ‘just like Nazis’ and ‘demonic’. Especially considering the warmness I experienced while
traveling through that region. Ironically, the only place in the Middle East with strangers that weren’t warm was Israel.  

Believe me. I know why Jewish people have an issue with certain places in the world. I don’t mind that. They are definitely in a
vulnerable geographic position in the world. What I mind is meeting someone, from the same place I am from, who won’t take a
second to shut up to listen to another opinion on the matter. Who knows – he might have even been able to learn something. Who
am I kidding? A person like that would never take a moment to take their head out of their ass…
Back to Bolivia.
Down by the lake.
The church in the center of town.
Atop of Copa.