RELEASE DATE: 01 May, 2011


Top Tens seem to be everywhere these days, from recommendation blogs and travel guides to human rights charters. The need for this form of written expression stems from three lamentable human traits: a short attention span (eleven items on any list prove to be simply too taxing), chronic lack of good judgement (how could you possibly choose from this world's infinite panoply of wonders unless someone's researched something thoroughly and ranked it for you first?), and an obsession with round figures. Here are ten reasons why you should read this issue of the Bolivian Express:

1) Because it's been put together by a group of ten people (give or take a few) who've worked hard to distil some of their experiences in Bolivia into easily digestible droplets of juicy information.

2) Feeling thirsty? Before you open that bottle of Singani and try and drink it on your own, you might want to learn why doing so might not sit all that well with the locals. If that comes as somewhat of a culture-shock for you, then we can guarantee it won't be your last. Isaac Bloch runs you through the rest. Salud!

3) Talking of shocks - when visiting Bolivia, you should see suffering from food poisoning as a rite of passage. Everyone gets something shady lurking in their intestines at least once, and some brave souls even come back for seconds. If you haven't yet fulfilled your food-poisoning-quota, Camilla Swift gives you the ten best Bolivian street foods to get you started. Mmm, qué rico!

4) Talking of food poisoning, if you're a Gringo, you're roughly ten times more likely to incur the wrath of local parasites (I think I read that somewhere but I may be making it up). That aside, there are as many good things about being a Gringuito as there are bad things -at least according to the 50 locals we surveyed. Ciaran Raymer goes through them all.

5) Talking of Gringos, did you know that, socially speaking, they're more likely to get away with giving their kids Aymara names? Helen Reid explains why this is so and runs you through ten popular names and their meanings.

6) On a somewhat unrelated note, Rosalie Bonnefoi decided to be a good sport and rise to the challenge of writing a film review in a format fitting with the rest of this issue. Read her article to discover what film you need to watch next. It involves llamas.

7) On a completely unrelated note, a recent study has shown that the best way to use a magazine is to hold it in your hands and look at it while you flick the pages. In an experiment, 300 volunteers were given a magazine by researchers at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés. The first group were told to use it as toilet paper, the second group were told to use it to light a fire, and the third were told to look at it for 20 minutes. The first group overwhelmingly reported it was “too scratchy”, the second group claimed this practice was “inefficient as the paper doesn't burn well” and that it was “bad for the environment”. The third group reported high levels of satisfaction, even among those who were illiterate. You see? Yet another reason to read this issue.

8) Are you tired of bumping into scruffy groups of travellers holding the same dogeared copy of Lonely Planet? No need to pretend you don't know them or feel compelled to make gap-year small-talk. Use our handy Cultural Events Calendar at the back to steer away from the beaten track and plunge right into the local mainstream. If you want to drink your socks off and go clubbing until you're coca-green in the face you

should also read the team's article on the Top Ten Night Spots in La Paz. Don't blame us if you bump into those lame-o travellers again, it might even be the Bolivian Express team.


9) Getting more readers means we can offer advertising at higher rates. Higher advertising rates means we are better able to cover our running costs. This leaves more money aside for buying tasty food for the Bolivian Express cats (Gata and Kandinski). So in effect, by reading this magazine you are indirectly helping to spoil two cute cats.

10) As there are two cats the above reason actually counts twice (as if you'd need any further persuading to flip the page and start reading).

So there you have it. I hope you enjoy this issue and email me if you have any comments, thoughts or ideas. Serious or otherwise.

Amaru Villanueva Rance


Go gringo go

16 Jul, 2011 | Ciaran Raymer

When I hear the word ‘’gringo’’, the first thing I think of is Mexico. However the word is used throughout spanish-speaking countries. In Spain, for example, it was first used to describe foreigners i...

Top 10 reasons to watch ¿Quién mató a la llamita blanca?

18 Jul, 2011 | Rosalie Bonnefoi

There’s no doubt that cinema is a crucial way of immersing yourself into the culture of a country, especially to discover the mentality of its people, history, humour, and a whole way of thinking are...

Top ten street and market foods

18 Jul, 2011 | Camilla Swift

People say that eating out in Bolivia can be hazardous, especially on the streets, and this is one area where travellers should not over-economise; the satisfaction accrued from saving the odd dollar...

Top 10 cultural shocks

18 Jul, 2011 | Isaac Bloch

A culture shock, like culture itself, can only be experienced subjectively. But after living in La Paz for two months, I’ve found there are certain aspects of life here that inevitably jump out at the...

Ten Aymara names and meanings

18 Jul, 2011 | Helen Reid

In the Aymara culture names are very important as they symbolize personality traits; the name is the expression of parents´ ambition for their child. Approximately 70% of Bolivians have Aymara or Quec...