Replies: 103 - Last Post: May 13, 2012 11:39 PM Last Post By: Standanista
May 4, 2012 5:16 AM
15Youve no idea how tempted I was last week to put big scratches in along the sides when walking past all those parked minibuses in town
I've often had similar thoughts, usually involving a baseball bat and windows...... If I remember the police in Cochabamba started removing licence plates and towing vehicles away during a transport strike a few months ago; the strike ended remarkably quickly.
The La Paz transport trait I hate the most, out of several, is when minibuses stop to pick up passengers immediately after turning into a side street off the Prado, directly in front of you, thus blocking your perambulatory stroll down the broken pavement
Particularly cunning is the tactic of stopping right after a junction on the Prado, causing a queue of minibuses doing the same behind that block access to the side street completely. When the lights change this then leads to another queue of traffic trying to cross the Prado to enter the side street that blocks the Prado. The traffic police and their whistles dont stand a chance with the cacophony of horns that results.
May 4, 2012 6:42 AM
16"doing the same behind that block access to the side street completely. When the lights change this then leads to another queue of traffic trying to cross the Prado to enter the side street that blocks the Prado. The traffic police and their whistles dont stand a chance with the cacophony of horns that results"
This is so annoying and is the cause, along with the other random "i own the road" type stops of the congestion in La Paz. Its ironic that the people who moan about the congestion the most - the taxi drivers - are actually the ones that cause it, but they are too stupid to see this. If there was a a set of rules enforced and people obeyed them the traffic system here would be fine.
Another favorite of mine is the strange decision making process drivers here have of when there is a narrow street with a single car parked in it they choose to park there car on the opposite side of the road perfectly lined up with the other car essentially blocking the street ignoring every other place in the street that would have made a perfectly acceptable parking spot
An idea i had this morning though is if they cant get more car tow trucks quickly then why not get a load of the large trucks and fit those "cow catchers" that you get on the front of trains that go through cattle areas (the big metal pointy things that move them out of the way) and simply drive them around the blocked areas of the city early morning. The zebras can be utilized to move pedestrians out of the way of the flying minibuses and any damaged caused can be charged to the bus owners. Seriously, I should be president - pity a foreigner isnt allowed but as soon as my nationality comes through , look out for me on those ballet sheets.
May 4, 2012 7:05 AM
17That's the one I was referring to, agreed! THE worst.
I like the "removing number plates and towing away" tactic. In the recent La Paz case, given that the police were in a way on the side of the strikers as discussed above, I guess it was never going to happen.
May 4, 2012 7:30 AM
18"I like the "removing number plates and towing away" tactic. In the recent La Paz case, given that the police were in a way on the side of the strikers as discussed above, I guess it was never going to happen."
then sack them also. Can you tell im running out of patience with these groups.
I was watching the doctors squirt syringes of piss at police last night on telly (for those that dont know Bolivia , this was a news article and not some strange fetish video Id borrowed from james) and was shouting they should be arrested and have their licences taken from them. Then for one horrible moment i thought I was turning in maggie thatcher and that shut me up.
May 4, 2012 7:42 AM
19then sack them also. Can you tell im running out of patience with these groups. I was watching the doctors squirt syringes of piss at police last night on telly (for those that dont know Bolivia , this was a news article and not some strange fetish video Id borrowed from james) and was shouting they should be arrested and have their licences taken from them. Then for one horrible moment i thought I was turning in maggie thatcher and that shut me up.
In my professional medical opinion you have an outbreak of Bolivianitis. It's a chronic syndrome which, once contracted, can never be cured, but symptoms do come and go and can often be kept in check with alcohol and getting out of the country. This sounds like a particularly bad flare-up in your case, which is not unexpected given the disease's current pandemic proportions amongst the ex-pat community. Funnily enough I'm searching for flights to Brazil as I type.
May 4, 2012 7:45 AM
20I did see a couple of policemen showing intiative this morning and stepping into the street, even though lights were green, and stopping traffic from advancing to block up the junctions. A faint ray of hope.........!
Bad driving is the cause of a lot of La Paz's traffic problems; the city's road network and terrain being completely unsuitable for the volumes of traffic it now has to deal with is much harder to solve. I've never understood why the drivers here, instead of continually arguing with and moaning about the police giving them tickets and fines, dont just drive in a vaguely civilised fashion, thereby not giving the cops a justifiable reason to fine them. Would make everyones's lives and theirs so much easier.....
With apologies to Neil Armstrong: "That's one small simple step for mankind, one lengthy evolutionary process for Bolivia" is a good motto for this country.....!
Can you tell im running out of patience with these groups
You're not the only one. In fact I'm surprised the general public hasn't turned its full wrath on the health workers yet (not that I've seen anyway) rather than just shouting some abuse at them during their marches. Tipping point can't be far off........
May 4, 2012 7:46 AM
May 4, 2012 8:09 AM
22"You're not the only one. In fact I'm surprised the general public hasn't turned its full wrath on the health workers yet (not that I've seen anyway) rather than just shouting some abuse at them during their marches. Tipping point can't be far off......."
I think the problem is that most people have run out of patience with the government now though so dont want to be seen saying anything that would be pro government so whilst they are annoyed with the medics and most dont agree with them they tend to say "the government should fix this" rather than "stupid lazy doctors trying to avoid working 8 hours a day because they dont want to eat into their private practice time" which is in fact the truth of the matter but doesnt seem to be mentioned very often. I would love to work just an 8 hour day - my normal day is usually 11 or 12 hours.
May 4, 2012 8:31 AM
23....trying to avoid working 8 hours a day because they dont want to eat into their private practice time" which is in fact the truth of the matter but doesnt seem to be mentioned very often
I'd have thought more would have been made of this as well. Especially as in the last week or so most of the protests have been by medical students, with the qualified doctors conspicuous by their relative absence compared to the earlier protests...... Presumably quite a few thought they could get the government to change their mind over Law 1126 much earlier and have now part returned to their private practices as their spare cash has run out...
May 4, 2012 9:31 AM
May 4, 2012 12:03 PM
25I'm stepping out of line here but I agree with the health workers. They get paid comparatively little by the state compared to what neighbouring countries or Spain or the States pay, which are the obvious alternative places to take and use their skills, so IMO they have to have two jobs - unless and until they've built up enough experience to go fully private - which means in today's case 6 hours in the state sector and further hours on top of that, privately. If the government paid these people a fair wage for 8 hours it wouldn't be an issue, again IMO. The obvious, and worse, alternative, is a large-scale brain drain to Chile/Brazil/Mexico/the USA/Europe etc, which would only exacerbate Bolivia's state healthcare problems further. The fact that they, in reality, work a lot more than 8 hours themselves, in total, is also something that hasn't been mentioned much when people accuse them of laziness.
Could be worse though: they could be on a Cuban doctor's wage of about US$20 a month, filling a striking Bolivian colleague's post in El Alto...
Anyway, at least the Cuban doctors in Caranavi have an easier life. It's a great time to go to Caranavi: transport strike Monday-Tuesday, COB strike Wednesday-Thursday-Friday, medical workers blockading the roads and the latest TIPNIS march due through that way sometime soon. See ye in a month. :)
May 4, 2012 1:46 PM
"Mind the gap" - so that's you. Pretty good sub-continental accent for a Tyke.
Now we know why a bloody great sinkhole appeared in the middle of Avenida Mariscal Santa Cruz a few days ago. I thought JRQ had laid a trap for the revolting doctors but all the time it was you, applying London Underground tunneling expertise to laying the Metropolitan and Chijini Line straight through La Paz.
What about some Boris Bikes? You could get the Blond Bombshell here to launch the scheme, but the gearing would need upgrading for him to tackle Calle Ayacucho.
May 4, 2012 2:46 PM
27By "sub-continental", I can assure readers I sound neither like Del Boy Trotter ("Continentahl, Rodney") nor my mate Vijay from Delhi; he went to cultured educational institutes (Vijay, not Del Boy) rather than suffering the disbenefits (economist's term thrown in for Threeshire) of Northern school playground foundational linguistics.
As incidents go, sinkholes in the Prado are nothing compared to thinking you've got off on a jolly on a beautiful English summer's day, walking the track doing a "corridor inspection" out in the Middlesex sun near Ruislip, only to come across a stopped train, a few of my colleagues prodding around with sticks in the long grass of a neighbouring field with sticks, and a body under the front bogie of the train with no head on it. The head had bounced up after getting sheared off between rail and flange, and an 8-car set of Central line 1992 stock travelling at 50 mph can punt a detached head a long way.
Luckily for me I found naught more than a couple of big rocks with potential, but I did get to inadvertently hold the thing when the late Eric Williamson BEM, Service Control Manager par excellence, handed me the yellow bio-hazard sack and said, "Here Jacko, grab this, feel how heavy heads are."
May 4, 2012 2:52 PM
28#31 & everybody else:
I too agree to a certain extent with the doctors and medical workers, for the reasons you mention, but also for the simple fact that I too wouldn't go along with having my current, valid work contract revoked and being obliged to work more hours for the same amount of money. If I close my eyes, I can just see, hear and almost smell what would be left of Plaza Murillo and its surroundings after Evo had issued a decree establishing that the COMIBOL miners would work the same amount of hours for 33% less pay - which is basically the same thing.
I read an article in La Razón online this week on the history of the 6 hour workweek, which was decreed in the sixties or early seventies for doctors if I remember correctly and extended to all medical personnel, including administrative personnel in the eighties or nineties, a pretty dumb, disastrous measure, no doubt taken to pay off some developing conflict of that time.
In the present, there's a shortage of medical personnel in all public healthcare, where a patient with - say - a broken leg has to draw a ticket at 4am to be attended at 4pm, and then being treated like garbage by doctors and nurses (I've seen it from up close more than a few times).
And while there's a shortage of medical personnel, there's also a substantial number of them sitting at home, unemployed, this article stated. I know from a doctor friend that, while there's a great shortage of doctors in the campo to achieve a post there, one has to pay a substantial amount in coima, 500 US$ or more, to the man in charge of job handouts in the medical bureaucracy.
So I guess to achieve any kind of real solution, government should A. invest more money in healthcare to contract more personnel, which isn't going to happen as they need that money to put satellite Tupac Katari into orbit and build the new Kalasasaya on Plaza Murillo.
And B. in order for that investment to have any kind of effect, government should sweep a heavy broomstick through the corrupt-to-the-bone medical bureaucracy, which isn't going to happen either, as the medical caudillos and presidentes de sindicato will never allow it and will probably keep throwing medical students against government buildings, into the Autopista and any worthwhile section of La Paz' traffic arteries until either government gives in, or they're out of students.
I can't find that article online anywhere anymore, so it must have been taken down for being too informative.
All this doesn't mean I agree with doctors and medical personnel, having taken the Hippocratic Oath and all that, not attending anyone except for emergencies for over 5 weeks now, which is an outrage, by the way.
May 4, 2012 3:15 PM
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