How to Bust the Traveller’s Blues

23 May, 2017 | Yolande Rowson

Tourism and Going Out

Photos: Nick Somers

Four Simple Steps to Transform the Troubled Tourist

It’s a depressing moment when you’re halfway across the world and you feel like a lugubrious llama. Your mind, once childlike in its inquisitiveness, grows ever more cynical in the interminable haze of new buildings, faces, and meals out. You stopped trying to be authentic with your meal choices back in month number one. Perhaps even now you’re tucking into your fourth spaghetti bolognese this week. You’re done with the small talk and have developed a silent antipathy towards your fellow travellers.

Luckily for you, you've now made it to La Paz. Deliverance from dejection is at hand, but only if you obey the golden rule: leave all inhibitions behind.

These tips, done with gusto, will certainly help you chase away those traveller’s blues.


Step One: Eat Your Way To Happiness

Begin your day with a nutritious meal of rostro asado. For those that have yet to sample this delight, it’s essentially a sheep’s head on a plate, wool and all. In your situation, it is always best to ignore the advice of your well-wishers by avoiding comfort food and introducing yourself to discomfort food. It is incredibly difficult to think about one’s own problems when faced with the enticing aroma of roasted meat and the alluring sight of fur slithering off a succulent carcass.

Step Two: Salvation Through Sweat

Meal over, it’s time for some exercise. A guide book will tell you that by far the best way of seeing the city is to take the teleférico. This is a grave misconception. What you really need to be doing in your condition is scrapping the whole public-transport idea altogether in favour of donning your trainers and running to El Alto. It’s important not to worry about the altitude-induced wheezes, or the knowledge that your maladjusted lungs are at the point of implosion. Even if your face might turn blue, you certainly won’t feel blue anymore.

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Step Three: Audacious Attire

What’s a holiday without a makeover? Embrace the fact that you are a tourist and that it is not only tolerated but expected that your attire will be outrageous. Now is your time to channel the nonchalantly alternative look you’ve been longing for. Head down to Sagarnaga for a quintessentially gringo look. Grab yourself a pair of stripy trousers, throw on a jumper (if it’s got fewer than three alpacas on it, don’t bother), and head out on the town.

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Step Four: Drink Away That Awkwardness

Head out and leave the old you behind and adopt a new, cooler, sexier persona with the help of your new buddy, the chuflay. This courage-enhancing elixir of singani and a choice of ginger ale or white soda, is the perfect partner for the previous pessimist. There comes a point in inebriation at which the language barriers are miraculously surmounted. Who cares if you don’t know ‘hola’ from ‘adios’? What you do know is you singani from your sambuca.

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