Last night Yoli and I watched a movie called “Blackthorn.” The premise is that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were not killed at San Vincente, Bolivia in 1908. The film follows Cassidy around 1928 as he prepares to come back to the United States.
It’s a great western, with action and twists. But the best part is that it was filmed mostly in Bolivia and has Bolivian actors in it.
I have seen Robert Redford’s version of the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with Yoli, and it’s kind of pitiful the way all the Bolivia scenes were filmed in Mexico. Similar deal with the recent James Bond ‘Quantum of Solace’ film — all the Bolivian scenes were filmed in other countries, and the actors weren’t Bolivian.
“Blackthorn” shows off some of Bolivia’s most beautiful features, including the Salar deUyuni, which I visited with Yoli in 2005. Cassidy has a ranch, possibly in Chuquisaca, and visits Potosi and Oruro among other places. The amazing landscapes and towns really make you feel like you’re in the right time period, and it also gives this western a different vibe (Bolivia has a different look than the American west).
The cast includes many Bolivians, and the story takes into account Bolivia’s history. Mining and colonialism definitely figure into it.
That I hate the changes to U.S. airport security since Sept. 11, 2001 is no secret to anyone who has traveled with me or has listened to me talk about my travels.
On Daring Fireball, John Gruber linked to an eye-opening story by Paul Karl Lukacs on his blog “Knife Tricks.”
Basically, Lukacs refuses to answer questions posed by passport control agents. His stance is that a U.S. citizen cannot be denied entry to the U.S., and that once a citizen has furnished proof of his citizenship and a written customs declaration, he is not obligated to answer any questions.
On this particular trip from China, he was detained in San Francisco for refusing to answer questions.
The blog post has caught attention across the web. To me, the guy is a hero. This passage sums it up for me: “To the extent that people decline to assert their right of privacy, it slips away. Lack of vigilance by citizens begets more government power.”
Friday morning we headed over to the Plaza 24 de Septiembre at the heart of Santa Cruz. The scenic cathedral at one corner of the plaza, the Basilica Menor de San Lorenzo, opened a mirador several years ago. In 2008, we tried to go up, but could not because we got there after 11:30 a.m. and it closed at noon.
We got a late start to our morning (as we usually do), and it was looking like this attempt would turn out to be a repeat of two years ago. But we got to the cathedral right on time and had no problems going up.
Maybe we are a little crazy, climbing twisty stairs with four children in tow, just for a nice view. But we like church towers, faros, and observation towers. That’s the way we roll.
Among several changes we have noticed in Santa Cruz are the new traffic lights that you find at many major intersections. These are big bright signals with counters that show you how much time you have left until the cycle changes — so, if it’s red, how much time until it turns green, etc.
Even more amazing is that drivers obey them. Several taxi drivers have told us that they are a big improvement.
We had an all-day picnic today at Corina and Marco’s farm near Urubó. It’s in the same vicinity as the Biocentro Guembe that we visited two years ago, but much further out from civilization.
The farm was just beautiful with an amazing view. They have been working for two years to clear it of trees, etc. Now they have horses, cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, dogs, cats, an ostrich, and a monkey. They are growing potatoes, yucca, tomatoes, lemons, herbs, and probably other things I can’t remember. Not to mention the huge pavilion, an adobe oven, and a sand volleyball court.
Bolivia’s Independence Day is this Friday, and the official state celebration will be held this year in Santa Cruz, rather than Sucre or La Paz (the capital and government seat of the country, respectively).
There are lots of festivities leading up to the day. This morning we went to Yoli’s old school, Instituto Superior de Bellas Artes, which her niece Melany now attends.