Saturday, May 06, 2006

Despite the unrivaled pleasure of writing these dispatches, which I iimagine some of you use for entertainment, some of you use to live vicariously (as so many of you let me know before departure), or someof you (like my mother) put up with my blathering if nothing else to be reassured I am not stricken with malaria, joining a group of jungleguerrilla fighters, or whatever else she can imagine, I must admit something:

it pays for shit.

So, as my bank account dwindles, my enjoyment of writing surges, andthe thought of going back to a "real" job is completely unpalatable, I have decided something: It is time to start freelancing. This is where you come in. For some reason - well to be exact the mere fact I have no experience in this whatsoever - I am kind of hitting awall as to how to get started, so I decided to ask for some help from all of you lovely people.

So what I need are the following:

1) Ideas for articles subjects/titles/etc

2) Anyone who might be interested in publishing them.

3) feedback from any of you who have more experience in this,guidleines for journalism writing, tips, connections, wads of cash sentto me, et al. Ideal situation would be writing for some magazine that wants irreverent post corporate job travel reports and pays, well, something. My initial goal is to make enough at least enough money to pay for myticket home (arond 1000 bucks), and maybe a few empanadas while I am here would be great, at least for a start. So help me out - all help is very appreciated.

In other news, I am in La Paz, Bolivia. I went running today, my second run in Bolivia, at the lactic-acid-churning altitude of 3600 meters. When you are this high (stop laughing, stoners) all you want is flat streets and as much air as possible, but if you are in Bolivia all you get are steep hills and lots of unmuffled engine exhaust. It was a bit better than my first run in this lovely non-catlytic-converter-using country, in Potosi (4060 meters which converts to exactly waymore feet than you can comfortably imagine) only a few days after arriving at altitude.

Both started with lots of vain thoughts of how hard core I was to go running at this altitude, and ended with burning legs, burning lungs, and gingerly walking back to the hostel cursing both this country's policy of charging to use a bathroom and my failure at leaving the hostal without small coins.

Yes, Bolivian cuisine - meat, accompanied by potatoes, rice, and pastaall at the same time - makes ones bowels resemble the city streets of its capitol...crowded, smelly, and backed up. Nothing like a run up and down the paved ski slopes called a neighborhood to assist, I assure you. Despite these abdominal flexing and mental challenges (Adam Boardman's Suggested meditation: "Hoover Dam can takes thousands of tons of liquidpressure I can take this...Hoover Dam, Hoover Dam, Hoover Dam, where isthe f*%!ing hostal?"), running in foreign countries is always anadventure. Typically you get to see a side of the city you would have missed otherwise, and the added bonus of the locals reacting in a wayother than thestopped-being-funny-or-original-the-moment-the-movie-came-out "Run,Forrest, Run" still tragically common back home. In Mexico it was lots of honking, whistling, and staring, but in Bolivia it is just more of the silent, piercing, head-turning stares Iam already used to getting, being a gringo and all.

Bolivia does have its charm. Yesterday I rode in a collectivo to theValle de La Luna just outside of the city. You attentive Boardmaniacs may be thinking to yourselves: "Adam needs writing ideas...why don't I just send him a wad of cash instead?"

wait, wait, wait, I meant: "Didn't Adam already see the Valle de La Luna in Chile? What is he doing wasting time going back to place he already has been when he issupposed to out there living the dream and making girls hearts beatfaster with his charm and good looks all the Latin world over? You know, I really should tell Adam how charming, good looking, and modesthe is when I send him story ideas."

Well, you are right on all counts. I AM charming, good looking and modest, and I have already been to somewhere called Valle de La Luna. But just like shaky economies, simmering revolutions, and resentful attitudes towards the Bush Administration, it seems every South American country has its own Valle de La Luna. It was not as impressive as the first one, but that is not the interesting part. The Bolivian collectivo is a sort of Bus/taxi popular downhere. The one I found myself inside of hurtling through tight city traffic was a small Toyota minivan.

In the US this would carry at most 7 people, and of course in Bolivia will not go into gear with less than15. By my count there were 18 adults and 6 children under the age of 4. I had a Cholita's (the triangle shaped blanket-and bowler-hat ladies) knees in my back and a 2 year old girl next to me being crowded out by her younger sister - both in their father's arms -spilling out onto my lap.

NEXT SECTION NOT FOR THE FAINT OF BAD TASTE OR THOSE WHO DO NOT LIKE THE PRODUCT OF MY OCCASIONALLY TWISTED SENSE OF HUMOR: Not that I could have reached my camera if I wanted to, but I shouldhave taken a picture and use it for a carpooling campaign. Or one ofyou reseourceful business people out there should start a Bolivianimporting business for commuters who want a Cholita to help them get towork faster (carpool lane, people), and maybe do some "sitting-and-knitting" on the side, which is all I ever see these people doing.

I sometimes wonder what goes on inside the heads of Cholita's: [waking up] "You know what I am going to wear today? A blanket and a bowler hat!" "You know what I feel like doing? Wrapping a box of stuff/a pile ofsticks/several small children/anything smaller than a compact car up ina neon blanket, tying it to my back and going somewhere to sit!"

Okay, okay, I will stop. Yes i am making fun, but I will say that I have really enjoyed the friendly and helpful nature of these people,even if their fashion choices never stop making me grin. If you are curious, check out what I found on google images to get an idea of what I am talking about:

FOR THOSE WHO SKIPPED THE LAST SECTION KEEP READING: Please help with the "Get Adam paid for writing" campaign. I lookforward to hearing from you!


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