Bolivia Complete Culture Study


Bolivia Complete Culture Study Essay, Research Paper

DESTINATION:La Paz, BOLIVIA Facts at a GlanceFull country name: Republic of BoliviaArea: 1,098,580 sq km (428,446 sq mi) Population: 7,826,350Capital city: La Paz (pop 1,000,000) and Sucre (pop 100,000)People: 30% Quechua Indian, approx 28% mestizo, 25% Aymar? Indian, approx 10% European (principally Spanish)Language: Spanish but most Indians speak either Quechua or Aymar?; composite dialects of Spanish-Aymar? and Spanish-Quechua are also widely spokenReligion: 95% Roman CatholicGovernment: DemocracyPresident: General Hugo Banzer EnvironmentHere is a summary of the climate and environment so you know what kind of wardrobe and other adjustments you need to make in order to adjust to different weather patterns.Bolivia itself is sandwiched between Peru, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Chile in central South America. It is the fifth-largest country on the continent, measuring roughly the size of France and Spain combined. There are five geographical regions: the highly populated Altiplano, a 3500m (11,480ft) plateau which stretches from the Peruvian border north of Lake Titicaca southwards to the Argentine border; the highland valleys, which lie to the south and east of the Altiplano and which boast near optimum climatic conditions and fertile soils. Because of the extreme geographical variations, Bolivia has a wide range of climactic patterns. Generally, temperatures are cool, with the rainy period extending from November to March in most of the country. The city of La Paz is often has very cold temperatures and sometimes snow, while the Altiplano region is prone to severe flooding. During the dry period the climate is pleasant, though clear skies can cause nighttime temperatures to drop. In the lowlands, the weather is hot and sunny, with the occasional cloudburst helping to cool things down.The city of La Paz is situated 2 miles above sea level. It is geographically placed in a canyon which only shows a hint of greenery. This makes the oxygen premium and altitude sickness common for foreigners so be prepared for a change in breathing patterns.. HistoryYou will need to know some economic info to be able to be current with issues and keep good conversation during business gatherings. Civilization in the Bolivian Andes is thought to stretch back some 21,000 years. The most influential Pre-Columbian cultures were the Tiahuanaco, who were based around Lake Titicaca and who ruled the region between 600-1200 AD, and the Incas, who headed a vast empire which comprised most of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and northern Chile.The Spanish conquest of the country began in 1531 under Francisco Pizarro. The conquistadors made rapid progress, exploiting the trust (and later the disunity) of the Indians to secure the territory which became known as Alto Peru within two years. In 1544, deposits of silver were discovered at Potos?. The wealth generated by this find underwrote the Spanish economy (and the extravagance of its monarchs) for more than two centuries. However, conditions for the mine workers were appalling with most of the enslaved Indians and Africans dying within a few years.The process of achieving independence from the profligate Spanish administration finally came in the form of Sim?n Bolivar’s lieutenant Antonio Jos? de Sucre, in the battle of Ayacucho in 1824. Bolivia was formally declared a republic the following year.Bolivia’s territory had always been coveted by its neighbors, encompassing as it did over 2 million square kilometers (780,000 sq mi). Chile’s desire for more land first bore fruit in the War of the Pacific, which it fought with Bolivia between 1879 and 1884. Chile triumphed, securing 850km (527mi) of coastline and robbing Bolivia of the port of Antofagasta, leaving the country landlocked. Soon after, Peru, Brazil and Argentina also began hacking away at Bolivia’s borders. In 1932, a border dispute with Paraguay in the Chaco region over oil deposits stripped Bolivia of further land. The ensuing Chaco War (1932-1935) also served to foment civil unrest within the country, promulgating reformist associations and leading to a series of coups by reform-minded military leaders. Perhaps the most significant development during this time was the formation of the populist Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario (MNR). In 1951, the MNR, under the leadership of V?ctor Paz Estenssoro, prevailed in the general elections but were stymied by a last-minute coup. The coup provoked a popular armed revolt which became known as the April Revolution of 1952. The military was subsequently defeated and Paz Estenssoro was brought back.In 1964, a military junta headed by General Ren? Barrientos overthrew the MNR. Military regimes subsequently came and went with monotonous regularity until the election of the leftist civilian Movimiento de la Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR) under Dr Hern?n Siles Zuazo in 1982. Three years later Zuazo was defeated by Paz Estenssoro’s MNR, who immediately sought to curb the stratospheric inflation levels (at one point reaching 35,000% annually) and implemented austerity measures. Hugo Banzer Suarez of the ADN is currently president of Bolivia.Bolivia has now become the world’s second-largest exporter, after Colombia, of cocaine, which has alienated the USA, Bolivia’s main source of aid. Bolivia is currently vying to strengthen its regional links and is a supporter of a South American common market. While inflation has been reduced to around 10% annually, the country’s history of hyperinflation still deters overseas investors. Bolivia’s main structural problem is the huge gulf between the world of 20th-century business and the life of the majority of Bolivians, who remain subsistent peasants. Economic ProfileGDP: US$23.1 billionGDP per head: US$3000Annual growth: 4.4%Inflation: 7%Major industries: Agriculture, narcotics, tin mining, natural gas Major trading partner: USA Unemployment rate-10%Population Growth rate- 2%Birth rate- 31.43 births/1,000 populationDeath rate- 9.89 deaths/1,000 populationNet migration rate- 1.53 migrants/1,000 populationInfant mortality rate- 63.86/1,000 populationLife expectancy- 60.89 yearsLiteracy rate- 83.1% Electricity- 110v and 220v in LaPaz, 220v outside the city. Make sure to check object before plugging them in.Weights and measurements- Metric system CultureThis is just an overview of the people and their culture so you will know what to expect.Musical traditions within Bolivia are distinctly regional: strains of Andean music from the desolate Altiplano are suitably haunting and mournful, while those of warmer Tarija, with its compliment of bizarre musical instruments, take on more ebullient tones. Dances such as the cueca, auqui-auqui and tinku hold a reverent place in popular culture. Other forms of folk expression include spinning and weaving, which display regional differences but have changed little over the last 3000 years.Spanish is the official language, yet only 60 to 70% of the people actually speak it, and then often only as a second language. The remainder speak Quechua, the language of the Inca, or Aymar?, the pre-Inca language of the Altiplano. Roughly 95% of Bolivia’s population professes to be Roman Catholic, but the absence of clergy in rural areas has led to a synthesis of Inca and Aymar? beliefs with Christianity. The hybrid Christian/folk religion is an interesting conglomeration of doctrines, rites and superstitions. Bolivia’s food is dominated by meat dishes, accompanied by rice, potatoes and shredded lettuce. Sometimes llajhua (a hot sauce made from tomatoes and pepper pods) will be used to add spice and flavor to a dish. Bolivian beer, wine and chicha (industrial-strength maize liquor) are all good but be warned: if invited to drink with locals, be prepared as the alcohol is strong and Bolivian drinking habits lusty.The real color of the country is said to be in the people. It is common to see women with hats called bowlers that are worn to the side if they are single and on top if they are married. The streets are filled with gun toting military and business men in white shirts. Make sure to learn some Spanish because Bolivians love to talk.EventsEvents are important to know so that you will keep on top of the changing cultureBolivian fiestas are invariably of religious or political origin, normally commemorating a Christian or Indian saint or god, or a political event such as a battle or revolution. The festivities typically include lots of folk music, dancing processions, food, alcohol, ritual and generally unrestrained behavior. Major fiestas include Fiesta de la Virgen de Candelaria, a week-long festival in the virgin’s honor, best seen in Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca (early February); Carnival is a nationwide event but is best seen in Oruro (the week before Lent); Phujllay is held in Tarabuco to commemorate the Battle of Lumbati (early March); the animated Festividad de Nuestro Se?or Jes?s del Gran Poder is held in La Paz to celebrate the power of Jesus Christ (May-June); and Independence Day is a riotous nationwide party (6 August). Money & CostsCurrency: Boliviano (B$)Conversion Rate1 US Dollar-5.7600 Bolivian BolivianoGeneral monetary guidelinesAs a rule, visitors fare best with US dollars, which are the only foreign currency accepted throughout Bolivia. Currencies of neighboring countries may be exchanged in border areas and at certain La Paz casas de cambio. All casas de cambio change cash dollars and some also change travelers’ checks. You can often change money in travel agencies, jewelery or appliance stores and pharmacies. When exchanging money, ask for the cash in small denominations, as there are chronic problems with change. Major credit cards may be used in larger cities. IMPORTANTTipping- With the exception of being at very expensive restaurants and hotels, you should not tip or the natives will consider you a silly gringo. Warnings to employeeThe area between Cochabamba and Santa Cruz in central Bolivia has been the scene of anti-narcotics campaigns and is potentially dangerous. Travelers should consult their embassy prior to traveling to assess the security risk. The country is the world’s third largest producer of coca, which is linked directly to the production of cocaine.Drug penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws in which they are traveling so as an American, you are still subject to the laws of Bolivia. Laws concerning trafficking and possession of drugs carry consequences of heavy fines and lengthy prison sentences. Incarcerated persons can expect to wait longer than two years before even being convicted. Prison conditions are very primitive and prisoners are expected to pay for their own room and board.Visas: Regulations change frequently, but currently citizens of most EC countries can stay 90 days without a visa; citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France and Benelux countries can stay 30 days without a visa. Most other nationalities require a visa in advance – usually issued for a 30-day stay.Health risks Altitude sickness, Chagas disease, cholera, hepatitis, malaria, polio, rabies, tetanus and typhoid Attractions in La Paz People congregate around the splendid Iglesia de San Francisco (construction began in 1549) with its arresting blend of mestizo and Spanish styles. Behind the church is the Witches’ Market where you can buy a bizarre assortment of goods including amulets, potions, delicately crafted silver jewelry, sweets and dried llama fetuses. La Paz also has a number of museums, including the Museo Costumbista Juan de Vargas, which contains some superb dioramas of the city, and the Museo de Metales Preciosos Pre-Columbinos, which houses three impressively presented salons of pre-Conquest silver, gold and copper works. Standing guard over all this is Illimani (6460m/21,188ft), some 60km (37mi) to the east, which is arguably Bolovia’s most famous peak.Most of the budget accommodation and cheap eateries can be found in the area between Calle Manco Capac and the Prado. For entertainment, there are folk-music shows, bars (generally with incoherent patrons), several good discos and numerous cinemas. Because of the often chilly temperatures, warm clothing is essential throughout the year.Around La Paz is the aptly named Valle de la Luna, which is an eroded hillside maze of miniature canyons and pinnacles 11km (7mi) east of the city; the spectacular Zongo Valley, 50km (31mi) north of the city, which has ice caves, turquoise lakes and the peak of Huayna Potos?; and the historical ceremonial center of Tiahuanaco, 70km (43mi) west of the city, which is Bolivia’s most important archaeological site. Lake TiticacaTraditionally regarded as the highest navigable body of water in the world (in reality there are higher lakes in Chile and Peru), Lake Titicaca is immense: its dimensions measure 233km (145mi) from northwest to southeast and 97km (60mi) from northeast to southwest. The lake has an indented shoreline, 36 islands and exceptionally clear sapphire-blue water. Titicaca is revered by the Indians who live on its shores, and the Islas del Sol and Islas de la Luna, two islands in the lake, are the legendary sites of the Inca’s creation myths. The main town in the area is Copacabana, which has a sparkling white Moorish-style cathedral and is host to the Fiesta de la Virgen de Candelaria. Isla Suriqui is world-renowned for its totora reed boats; Isla Kalahuta for its stone tombs; and Isla Incas is reputed in legend to have an underground network of passageways linking it to the old Inca capital of Cuzco in Peru. You should wear protective head gear around the lake because the thin air results in scorchingly high levels of ultraviolet radiation. Half of the lake lies within the borders of Peru; Puno is the principal settlement and main center for excursions on the Peruvian shore of the lake. Activities that you can do in your spare timeMost of the popular treks, or hiking, begin near La Paz, traverse the Cordillera Real on ancient Inca routes, and end in the Yungas. The three-day La Cumbre to Coroico Trek, northeast of La Paz, is the premier hike in Bolivia. Other popular treks include the two-day Taquesi Trek, also known as the Inca Trail, which crosses a low pass in the Cordillera Real between Ventilla and Chulumani; the little-known Yunga Cruz Trek, between the village of Chu?avi and Chulumani, which passes over a shoulder of the mighty Illimani; and the six-day El Camino de Oro, or Gold Trail, which heads from Sorata to the R&iacuteo Tipuani goldfields. The less strenuous walk to the Zongo Valley Ice Caves near La Paz is a spectacular alternative for those suffering cramps or needing to adjust gently to the high altitude. The Cordillera Real also offer great climbing opportunities, including Illimani, 6088m (19,970ft) Huayna Potos?, 5648m (18,525ft) Condoriri and the 6427m (21,080ft) Ancohuma. You can ski at the world’s highest developed ski run atop a glacier on the slopes of Chacaltaya, near La Paz, or at nearby but less developed areas on Condoriri and Mururata. When you’ve exhausted the mountains, jungle treks in the Amazonian Basin can be arranged in Rurrenabaque, El Porvenir (in the Reserva Biosf&eacuterica del Beni), Perseverancia (in the Preseverancia and Reserva de Vida Salvaje R?os Blanco y Negro) and in the remote but pristine Parque Nacional Noel Kempff Mercado in the northernmost reaches of Santa Cruz Department. River boats plying the R&iacuteo Mamor? from Trinidad go into the heart of Bolivia’s greatest wilderness area, enabling travelers to experience the mystique and solitude for which the Amazon is renowned. Getting There & Away Only a limited number of airlines offer services directly to Bolivia and fares are high. We will be flying you into the country via L.A.B. airline in a business class ticket which retailers for around 1,100 dollars. For reference as to family or friends flying in to visit, many people fly into another South American country, such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia or Peru, and travel overland to Bolivia, which generally works out to be cheaper. Border crossing points include Villaz?n-La Quiaca and Yacuiba-Pocitos (Argentina); Quijarro-Corumb? and Guayaramer&iacuten-Guajar?-Mirim (Brazil); Chara?a-Visviri and Abaroa-Ollag?e (Chile); Yunguyo-Puno and Desaguadero-Puno (Peru). Getting Around once you’ve gotten thereDomestic air services are provided by LAB, TAM and AeroXpress. Be prepared for delays, cancellations and general unreliability. Bolivia’s road network is not good, mainly because of the lack of paved roads. If your going to rent a vehicle, There are two rental facilities close to the airport.OCM andKolla Motors LTD Rates:The average rate for rental is $55/day; $650/week; $2500/monthMost long-distance buses depart in the evening and travel through the night. If you want to see the countryside between towns, you’re better off catching a truck, a popular mode of transport among campesinos. Trucks are half the price of buses, but can be rough going. There are two rail networks: one in the west and one in the east. The eastern network is completely chaotic; the western network is just disorganised. Don’t be fooled by trains called tren expreso and other zippy names; all trains apart from the ferrobus are excruciatingly slow. The Ichilo, Mamor?, Beni, Madre de Dios and Guapor? rivers are the main thoroughfares in the Amazon Basin. Recommended Reading by natives? A Sick People (1909) and The Bronze Race (1919) by the positivist historian Alcides Arguedas are withering yet compassionate accounts of his country and its people. ? The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming is the definitive work on the Spanish conquest of the ancient empire. ? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s memorable The Lost World was inspired by tales of the northeastern Bolivian plateaux. ? At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Mathiessen is a moral tale of missionaries in the Amazonian rainforests. ? Emperor of the Amazon by Brazilian M?rcio Souza is a biting modern satire on the horrors of the Amazon and the absurdity of personal and governmental attempts to conquer it. Embassy Location and registrationAs an American, You are urged by the embassy to register with the embassy and obtain security risk information from the consular. It is located at 2780 Avenida ArceTelephone – (519)(2) 430251

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