Andean curse

By Published On: February 5, 2006Categories: Travel3 Comments on Andean curse

"So where did you pick up the curse?" my friend emailed me. It was a good question. Whilst my brother Tom in typical younger-sibling envy has frequently accused me of having the "sun shine out of my arse", the last couple of weeks would put that in some doubt.

Now tell me whether you think this is bad luck.

19 Jan: My boss tells me I will have to go to Caracas, Venezuela to present a workshop on the campaign to get "water out of free trade" as he can’t go. Now that sounds pretty lucky, I know.

23 Jan: A colleague and I spend four days looking for a flight and get one last minute. Still sounds fairly lucky, but wait..

24 Jan: Arrive in Caracas without my luggage and pass 6 hours in the airport watching luggage carousels go round and round and watching the world’s slowest typist fill in my complaint. I then spend the next three days in the same clothes in steamy weather (mmm…nice)

27 Jan: My luggage arrives after another day spent ringing and hassling the airline. Half the stuff inside it is missing including my digital camera, battery chargers, cables etc. I have one hour to use all the materials I prepared to publicise the workshop for the following day. I remember that I forgot to renew my travel insurance which ran out a week ago….

31 Jan: Aeropostal tells me that it’s Lloyd Aero Boliviano’s (LAB) fault; LAB unsurprisingly tell me the opposite. I blame the Peruvians, but the joke doesn’t work without my friend Graham.

2 Jan: I arrive in Santa Cruz (on the other side of the country to La Paz) to find there is a pilots’ strike. I have another three days in the same clothes in boiling hot weather in a hotel full of irate Argentineans and one tranquil Canadian nun who can’t go home either. We get food provided but it seems to get smaller every day. My calls to get my luggage delivered from the airport get excuses, prevarications, promises but I am still in the same pants (for American readers, I mean underwear)

3 Jan: I head to the market. My mobile phone gets pick-pocketed (my third to be nicked in one year). Told I will definitely get a flight on another airline the following day. I just need to wait for a call in the morning.

4 January: No call. I call to find out every member of LAB staff have been sent on collective holiday so there is no way of getting in touch with them. I head to the airport and squeeze myself on a flight 7 hours later and hope I can claim it back later. I look for my luggage. It’s not there. I am told it was flown to La Paz which seems unlikely given the fact there has been a strike.

11.30pm, 4 Jan: Arrive in La Paz (hooray) but guess what, my luggage is nowhere to be found. Remember that I have my keys, diary and address book inside my bags. Oh well, probably my flatmate will be in. She’s not. I book myself into a hotel…..

I am convinced now that the slight sore throat I have got must be Avian flu picked up on the flight, and that the only vaccine to cure it will be in LAB’s offices. Still at least I can be grateful that the flight to La Paz didn’t get redirected via Baghdad.

I have been trying to work out what might have brought about the curse. As far as I remember, I haven´t pissed off any elderly women on broomsticks, or opened up any sacred tombs using a diamond I found with a faded map in an old trunk in the attic. I did have a religious ceremony at the beginning of the year where I forgot to get a miniature travelling item blessed (I got a mini-computer, food basket and house with pointy towers blessed instead) but surely that doesn’t mean I should be cursed.

Perhaps more importantly, I need to find out how to undo the curse. I am going to start by ceremoniously burning the underpants that I got to know too well over five days, but if anyone else has suggestions, I would be happy to hear them. Email me at nick [at] nickbuxton [dot] info – and no I don’t want any more emails offering me a sum you discovered in a bank account or help with my erectile disfunctional problems. That would be worse than the original curse.



  1. Andy February 7, 2006 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    This suggestion may have come too late, but how about keeping your camera and your diary in your hand-luggage? And how about keeping your mobile phone in your underpants? If you’ve been wearing them for five days, no pickpocket is likely to go there. Glad to be of help.

  2. Marlene February 8, 2006 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    well I was wondering what had kept your email and blog traffic so quiet over the past few days.
    I’m sorry, but it looks like I soaked up all the good vibes from the blessing ceremony. Our artichoke harvest is doing very nicely, and the nearest I came to mishap on my Andean visit was nearly leaving my cashcard in the machine (the next user politely prompted me to take it). But then I did fly to Peru..

  3. Emma February 11, 2006 at 7:25 am - Reply

    Don’t burn your underpants. Only burn things you actually want. Try burning a misterio of a suitcase, a plane or some keys. A llama fetus probably wouldn’t hurt.
    Emma, UK anthropologist in Cbba much enjoying your blog.

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