Llama in Potosí

13 December 2005
2:28 PM

Llama in Potosi

While we were driving in Potisí I saw my first Bolivian llamas. They were everything that I had hoped they would be. It’s funny to watch them eat—they have the bodies of sheep but with long legs and necks so they move in unexpected ways.

When we passed one llama, I asked the driver to stop, leaned across Caitlin, and took a photo from the back-seat window. It was almost perfect, except the llama wasn’t paying attention. “Ay llama,” I shouted, “mira aquí!” (“Hey llama, look here!”—I figured the llama probably spoke Spanish.) To my delight, the llama listened and I took my perfect llama shot.

According to my host mom Juana, though, not everything is perfect about llamas. A number of years ago some people started raising llamas next to the cemetery where her parents and mother-in-law are buried. Nowadays if you bring flowers to the cemetery, the llamas will watch you, and shortly after you place the flowers, the llamas eat them.

Allegedly the spit too, but I don’t buy it—my llamas are too well-mannered for that.