Random Observations, Rain, and Trash

Random Observations

  • There are so many stray dogs everywhere; so far they’ve been pretty friendly to me but I still keep my distance just in case. There is also a lot of dust – my jeans are pretty much dirty all the time.

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  • I heard a rumor that McDonald’s was banned from Bolivia. But there is a Burger King here. After taking to a few people it seems what actually happened is there was a mass boycott and McDonald’s couldn’t stay in business. Whatever the case, besides the Burger King, I have yet to see large multinational chains around here. Small independent sellers and a handful of Bolivian chains seems to be the norm. One huge exception though – Coca-Cola is everywhere. From what I hear they provide supplies such as tables, chairs, and stands to many small stores and restaurants in exchange for having their signage prominently displayed. I’m not sure if this is a good thing overall. On one hand, it saves these small businesses some start-up costs which they may not have been able to borrow from elsewhere. On the other had, they’re promoting an unhealthy and addictive product. I would think these entrepreneurs could have managed without Coke’s help.

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  • I do know I’m a fan of more local businesses rather than large multinationals. In general, the need for economic scale and efficiency of large corporations seems overblown while the harm/danger of concentration of money and power in fewer companies is usually ignored. At least with local businesses, the concentration of wealth is in many more hands and those hands tend to stay local. I think worker-owned enterprises are even better. Just a tangent on economic issues.
  • Practically every street here has an internet cafe. And most of them seem to be for online gaming. Funny how these things become popular in unexpected places.
  • Beauty salons and barber shops seem to love using Hollywood celebrity photos as advertisement. So if I want I can ask for Ryan Gosling’s haircut.

Rain and Trash Day

Last Wednesday it rained for the first time since I’ve been here and the power went out for most of the day. I hear it’s pretty common and it’s something I’ve also experienced in India. I was supposed to take the trash out at 6 am but the rain made me postpone that. Let me clarify; take out the trash in Cochabamba does not mean put it on the sidewalk in front of the house the night before. It means get up at 6, drag the bins to the corner and wait for the truck to pass by sometime between 6:15 and 6:30 hopefully. You might be asking as I did: why not leave it out at night? Well, remember those stray dogs I mentioned? They would tear through the trash in minutes and even if they didn’t, the trash only gets picked up if someone is standing with it. Interesting system.

Stay tuned for an update on our weekend trip to Toro Toro national park…

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