Bolivia Postcard

Pebbly grit blown town with a vacant lot central square, a half finished plaza and windowless second floor buildings perpetually in progress, all giving it a zombie endtime movie look. Coast to the one rumored eating place in the advancing dark. There is a woman with her daughter, both of them seem unusually unbathed, clank fussing with pots and a few burners. That may be a picnic table in front of the closet sized alcove, but then again it may have been something else made of wood, its past function compromised by time and scavenging. Ask after food and she says she only has, well, I don’t understand what she’s saying but the dish has it’s own name, anyway. Decide it doesn’t matter so cheerfully sit down, thinking of families sitting down at home.

There’s rice and potatoes, the latter being blackened and with what looks like hoarfrost on them. Queries reveal that they are once-frozen potatoes, of course. Hot tea that will keep me tossing awake later but I don’t know that now. And then there’s a bowl of broth and a quantity of suspicious looking bone with circles of meat(ish) stuff clinging by stubborn spoon defying gristle. Speculative anatomical reconstruction anchored primarily by the implication of vertebrae persuades me that this is llama neck meat, sectioned, you know, horizontally, as if the poor beast met its demise by broadsword. When I settle on this rendering of objects and events, it all seems a great deal more macabre and, consequently, funnier.

* * *

The room in the adobe building down the alley is small but affords warm space out of the wind. Excuse me, where is the toilet? He says just walk until there are no more people, as he gestures past the last walls of the village. I nod.

Happy Thanksgiving.