Another funny but also insightful story from Samaipata:
During our time there we met an interesting person from Germany. She was a transgender that has been living in Bolivia for a year and a bit now. She didn’t really have an easy time there. Learning Spanish is not her strength I guess, and immigration’s have been harder than expected. But proud she told us that the energy from El Fuerte would help her out and that’s why she stayed here. Probably also because there are so many travelers all the time. :-)
One thing that she said made me think about a specific topic from a completely different side: I have always had this opinion that being respectful and understandable is a necessity when going to another country, especially when the country was poorer than mine. That it was crucial to adjust to what the locals expect from you. Indeed, this makes all travels easier in any case.
What this woman said however, is in some way also true. She proudly told us a story of when she was being ripped off by locals due to her poor language skills but after some harsh reactions from her side they gave in. When we asked her how she feels about still not speaking proper Spanish yet, she said that she doesn’t feel like she has to adapt the Bolivian lifestyle just because she lives here now. We all share the same world and just because we were born in a different place doesn’t mean we should have to bow to somebody. Who is to say how you should behave anywhere? Who can claim any place in the world his or her own and decide what happens there? (Except their house, of course!) Nobody owns the world, or a country, or a city. We are all earthlings and therefore nobody is better than the other. We shouldn’t treat each other without respect but instead be able to tolerate everyone as they are.
This tolerance should come from both sides, of course, otherwise I think it is just ignorant to expect everybody to tolerate you for who you are but don’t give anything back. So I don’t mean to go crazy or extremely rude, nor being uneducated about local customs, but maybe try and give your share of tolerance to the world and if you’re lucky, you will get some back.
I think this would be a great concept, even though I doubt it would work because everybody would need to hop on the big tolerance bandwagon. Often it is hard for me the accept people the way they are, especially when I feel attacked by their behavior somehow. I guess I shouldn’t. Because most of the times I don’t know these people at all and how can you judge about something or somebody you don’t know anything about. Negative replies just generate more negativity in this yet so negative world! I try to work on it. :-)
I guess I’ll leave you these thoughts. By the way at the moment, we already arrived in Ecuador and enjoy some great weather in the city of Cuenca! Our hostel is fantastic and the city is just marvelous. After that we will make our way to the coast and stay there with a couple for a few weeks! We are so excited already! So stay tuned for more stories and other fun stuff here on my blog.