Tuesday, January 31, 2006

7000 vertical feet on "the world's most dangerous road."

Not to scare anybody, but that's what mi compañeros and I will be enjoying tomorrow on our way back to La Paz to meet the last two volunteers coming in for the semester.

The road's moniker deserves a blog entry all its own (or perhaps twinned with one on the road's replacement -- called "the world's most expensive road") but does not, I'm told, match with reality. In fact, our Bolivian driver and most of the long-term gringos here prefer the old road to the new ostensibly safer one. But again, that's another story for a different time.

Our power was out from 7am this morning until after 9pm tonight. And when I logged on I was beside myself with relief because (A) no news meant good news regarding Jess' surgery and (B) all the news about Mike was 'unambigously good.' In fact, one doctor was quoted as saying that Mike "landed better than Batman" and that the long-term prognosis was incredibly positive.

One note before I go to sleep that represents why I have such confidence that my comrades and I will enjoy our time here in the volunteer house. After a great dinner of pasta with sun-dried tomatoes (thanks Trader Joe's!), tuna (thanks Anastasia!), garlic and butter (thanks God!) we postponed our dessert of plum-pear crisp and coffee-cherry tea until after reading two short stories to each other around the candle-lit kitchen table. One of them, appropriately, was Jhumpa Lahiri's "A Temporary Matter" from Interpreter of Maladies. Our 4 voices in turn, the satisfaction of a simple well-made meal, the promise of sweetness (grounded with a hint of bitterness courtesy of the plums), and especially the irrepressible sense that good news would be arriving by e-mail made me feel very content, very glad-hearted, very much at home.

Which ain't too bad for your second full day somewhere.

PS: Lest our dinner sound overly gourmet, let me tell you that the pasta may very well have been from the Carter administration, that fruit flies molested the crisp through most of its stages of preparation, and that the tea was made with stuff most coffee farmers throw out. If you remain unsatisfied, I remind you that we cooked it all with mildly-tempermental propane and washed the dishes in cold water. In the dark.


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