Lunch with a local shoeshiner
Copacabana Travel Blog› entry 79 of 125 › view all entries
Today I got up early, 630, having gone to sleep rather early as well. I showered, packed my bags, grabbed some free breakfast and headed into town for some internet usage.
Then I decided to walk further uptown toward the large catholic monument that I had noticed on my way into town the previous day. I grabbed a park bench behind some colourful ladies selling their woven products and freshly cooked somethings I couldn´t identify, and I pulled out my copy of El Alquimista.
I was only a couple pages in when I was approached by a local shoeshiner who couldn´t have been much younger than myself. He noticed my shoes (runners) and said 'oh I´m sorry, this is impossible. you have runners'. Then we talked for a bit and he asked if I could help him out with some money as we was trying to get back to Arequipa, Peru because there was so little work here.
Thirty five minutes later he hadn't returned so I headed down toward the restaurants where I met him walking up a side street. He suggested a local place and we went in.
I have to admit my intentions weren't entirely altruistic as there a lot of subjects about Peruvian society that I wanted to know about, so I asked a lot of questions.
First of all his name was Javier and normally he was an agricultural worker in Arequipa, but he had heard that there were a lot of tourists in Copacabana, Bolivia and potentially a lot of money to be made shining shoes. Unfortunately for him, the large majority of tourists wore sneakers in Copacabana as he explained to me.
He also explained some of the intracacies of working as woman selling clothing on the street. Apparently every woman pays 5 soles per day for 1 metre of space.
After lunch I gave him some more money to help him get back to Arequipa and in doing so I showed him my coin collection that I was amassing from my travels. He reached into his pocket and took out 9 coins from various countries around the world that he had collected. He gave me three of them as a gift in return for what I had given him.
Then we parted ways I headed down towards the water to wait for my bus to La Paz.