Planet Hiker
2005-01-27 When The Saints Come Marching In, Potosi, Bolivia


When visiting me in Bolivia, Matt gave me a fantastic present - a harmonica! From traveler's perspective, I have a hard time coming up with something more perfect. So I have been finding intervals in my busy schedule to sit down and learn how to play it. I have even been tempted to buy a train ticket, then get to the train station two days early and just sit in there and play the harmonica.

As it turns out, Bolivia doesn’t have that many destinations where the trains reach, so I coped out a bit - I bought a bus ticket and went to the bus station two hours in advance. Never the less, everything felt right as I hummed and droned for the mildly amused public. There were lots of people walking past me; some would slow down for a second, others would continue on, pretending not to hear the sweet vibrations that were coming out of the funny looking tourist. But I was less concerned with people’s reactions and interested primarily in perfecting the “Amazing Grace” and “When The Saints Come Marching In”. There was another song, “Waltz Boys and Girls” that I was trying to reconstruct from my first days of joining the brass band in Armenia, but that was turning out harder than expected. I could only remember the parts that were written for the 3rd trumpet, which was leaving the main melody much too simplified and barren. Never the less, by the time the bus came, I noticed that something resembling a waltz does flow out of the harmonica, as well as the fact that my day pack is missing…

I had placed the daypack underneath my main backpack, assuming that no one would be able to steal it with out first catching my attention. That theory was clearly proven to be faulty and I knew perfectly well that whoever went through the trouble of the proof, isn’t around to receive my appreciation.

This wasn’t the first time that I was robbed – back in Nicaragua, my daypack, containing a towel, sunscreen, sandals and a hat, was stolen off the beach while I was swimming. Yet, this time, the price of my negligence of higher – one of the key pieces of my gear, the rain-jacket as well as the guide book, were in the pack, and replacing them would be a much harder task. There was also a hat that I bought just couple of days ago. And even though the cost of the hat was less than one hundredth of the price of the rain-jacket, I was more upset about that loss then anything else. I am not sure what is the matter with me and the acquired taste for loosing hats (one in Nicaragua, one in Ecuador, and now this one) but, the grim reality was that I needed a new hat yet again.