I don’t think it was auspicious really. To be honest I don’t really know what auspicious means but it’s Josh’s favourite word so that title’s for him. (He probably won’t even read this now, *sigh*, the things i do for love).
Anyhoo I arrived in La Paz dead tired on a black and foggy May 1st having just smashed through Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde during my various flights. The sinister, hazy atmosphere was a match but the brown, dusty sheen and chest constricting altitude were far removed from Hyde’s London/ Edinburgh that I’d just left behind.
The info ladies in the airport say the taxi line outside is legit so I take my chances. Headhunted on arrival the cab I’m taken too looks genuine, as in, ‘won’t drive you out into the middle of nowhere and demand all my money’ or ‘pop round the corner, pick up his boys and mug me’. Nonetheless I have my concerns as the driver is pushy and coy on details. After a haggle and a walk away he seduces me back with compromise and gentle persistence. To be fair, only one of the windows was cling film and the taxi driver endured my lengthy inspection and broken Spanish so off we go, down, down, down on cobbled roads. At each slowdown I brace for an impending mugging but each time it’s only a speed bump or a pothole.
I lost count of the stray dogs at 50, they are every few meters.
“There’s way too many stray dogs. Why are there so many stray dogs? The brochure said there were only going to be a few stray dogs. This is a terrible vacation.”
Surprisingly they all look glossy and in good health as they embrace each other in the pre-dawn twilight, rejoicing in their trash heap bounties. I saw what looked like a Saint Bernard and a westie trotting around like old pals, ‘shooting the breeze’. Insamity i tells ya! My chit chat with the taxi driver establishes that strays are friendly and owned dogs are the yobs. (Although this may be my limited understanding of Spanish, or maybe he plays practical jokes on tourists that end in rabies).
The taxi stops suddenly. I brace for a duel.
“Es 1982 Ecuadoro, si?”
With that he skips out and rings the doorbell politely announcing my arrival to the hostel before helping me out with my bag and giving me a big, ‘told you so’ smile at my misgiven suspicions.
I’ve just looked up ‘auspicious’. Apparantly it means “conducive to success, favourable”.
Yeah, sounds about right.