Title: Learning Spanish from the locals in Cochabamba
Location: Cochabamba, Bolivia
Cochabamba is a great place. It's in a valley surrounded on most sides by mountains which you can walk up at weekends. Lovely climate, blue all day, not too hot but hot enough. Everyone is pretty cheerful as if they know they´ve got it ok here. Lots of open spaces to relax, lots of bars and cafes, etc. which you can eat at, and street vendors you don't touch with a barge pole. Really fallen on our feet here.
We have a very nice ´granny flat´ attached to a large house and are left to our own devices by the owners. Good, safe part of town as well, although we have a private guard at night who patrols the street.
Have joined the country club. This place is great, real touch of luxury, so we are making the most of it and playing tennis most days. Borrowed a set of golf clubs and played for the first time today. All in all very busy, we can sense the time rushing past already...
It's been difficult to find the time and resources to give you a good idea of what life in Cochabamba has been like so far. But now I have found a keyboard which sort of works and on which I can find most of the English punctuation and function keys so here goes!
Please feel free to read as little as you want, it's just providing lots of detail on our everyday life if you're interested;
The Area we live in
The apartment is situated in an affluent part of town. Daniella, the Director of Teaching Projects Abroad (TAPA) lives a few houses away from ours on the top floor of her parents' house. Her Grandfather lives opposite, one Uncle runs the mechanics shop next door and the other the neighbourhood restaurant El Porten on the corner.
We live in the shadow of Cochabamba's exclusive shopping mall and apartment complex, Torres Sofer which is complete with drive in hotdog restaurant. In the shopping mall is one of only 3 supermarkets in Cochabamba! This means we are only a few minutes away from western civilization and food.
Every road in this area has a guard who is stationed in a hut on the street, they are there all night and 24 hours at weekends. In addition there is a bicycle powered guard who patrols the area. This is all paid for by the houses in the street.
Uncle's restaurant is somewhat unique. It´s a Churrisqueria which means that it specialises in flame grilled meats. This is very upmarket though and it has a 'funland' for children attached including swimming pool. This is where the well heeled Cochabambino's come at the weekend. The wine list is 4 pages long and has 2 of our all time favourites from Argentina on it for a tenth of what we pay at home!
Our biggest problem is pronunciation of 'Calle German Urquidi' to Taxi drivers after a few beers, but we are catching on very fast. We are using our Spanish wherever we go in restaurants and at the country club. Cochabamba is a great place.