En Bolivia, no hay
After only three days in this country, it's already clear: "en Bolivia, no hay" (lit: "in Bolivia, there isn't"). "No hay" is by far the most common answer to all the many questions that I've asked people so far in this country. Dinner? "No hay". Change? "No hay". Internet? "No hay". Buses? "No hay". Cake? "No hay". Anything to drink, other than Paceña beer? "No hay". Welcome to Bolivia, the country where whatever the hell it is you're looking for, it's guaranteed that you won't easily find it. No matter how simple it seems, no matter how likely you'd think it is that they have it, nope: "no hay".
On our first night here in La Paz, Chris and I were looking for our fellow gringos, because we were stuck on the wrong side of town. We went to a bar, and asked the bartender: "¿hay algunos gringos cerca de aqui?" (lit: "are there any gringos around here?"). The answer: "no hay — mas abajo" ("they're further down").
This afternoon, at the ruins of Tiwanaku, we asked if we could get a taxi back to La Paz, in case we missed the last combi back. "No hay". Well, what a surprise.
The crazy thing is that half the time, there is whatever you're asking about. The locals are just too lazy to explain where it is, or to give it to you if they have it. Laziness seems to be a deep-rooted part of daily life here in Bolivia. People would rather shut up shop early, than have your additional business. They'd rather just say "no hay", than bother explaining where you can find something. And they'd rather take their time chatting to their co-workers and watching TV, than serving your meal anytime this century and earning customer satisfaction. It's a land where people really do not care about an awful lot of things. Very different from Peru, where that culture doesn't exist at all.