So... last night we didn't end up going into La Paz, but instead stayed in and talked, told jokes, drank beer, ordered some roasted chicken, and stayed together until 1PM. During the day, while on the search for an internet connection, Rafys and I ate some salteños. The one we had was roasted meat and potatoes. Very tasty, and I hope we can try soem more at a later time (although time here for me is running out). While on our way back, we decided to pick up a dessert, and I thought originally that a chocolate cake would be a good idea, but neither of the pastry shops we went to had a chocolate cake (at least one that could be shared between eight people sufficiently). I ended up getting an apple pie ('pie de manzana') for the princely sum of 60 Bs. ($8.50); large enough (about 14") for each fo the eight of us to have a large slice of pie filled with apple, raisins, and nuts. (The cost of things was one thing we talked about over dinner, 120 Bs. ($17.00) for 2.5 chickens-worth of friend chicken, a serving of fries (papas fritas), and fried bananas (platanos fritos): the buying power of $10 here versus in the US, and what would constitute an expensive meal in Ann Arbor. For some reason, Subway and Burger King are charging US prices for their menu items, while having to compete against shops selling hamburguesas for up to 1/10 of the price - they must be cashing in on some Western/US caché, garnering upper-middle class patrons; a stark contrast to the US.)
I ended up nattering on with Rafys' cousin Estef until 2:30. :P However, last night, amongst the joke-telling and chatting, I taught Rafys, her aunt and Estef how to use chopsticks. They all seemed to get it easily enough, but without much with which to practice, weren't really able to do much in terms of incorporating that knowledge. I also learned, from the anime- inspired Estef, of "el circulo japonesa" ("the Japanese Circle), which sounds like a little Japan Town in La Paz (but wasn't mentioned in the Lonely Planet guidebook.) I will try and convince Rafys to go there either for a late lunch or an early dinner. Anyway, the day was a long one, and we spoke a lot, and Rafys' cousin had a nice long birthday visit before going home with his wife and baby.