Bolivian Magic Show

He begins with a troll doll with a string threaded through it. Comically it slowly rises and falls, rises and falls, with no seen force. Then he has a spectator tie a knot in a hankerchief and, in the magicians hand, the knot disappears. He explains that there is nothing special about his hands or, for that matter, any part of his body. He has only learned these tricks through training. To illustrate this point he pulls out a popup book of anatomy and begins ttalking about where babies come from. He’s proud to be a man he tells the crowd and then he pulls out a large machete and nun chucks. After performing a few karate kicks he returns to the point that he has normal hands and feet just like anyone else only can perform magic tricks. He continues pulling things out of his grab bag of tricks. Next are condoms, male and female. He starts talking about how sex is good but you should be very careful. The next item to come out of his bag is a stack of newspaper clippings: “Woman leaves man because of no sex.” He shifts gears to talking about taking care of your prostate and has newspaper clippings with color photos of inflamed prostrate glands as well as full color glossies showing operations. He shows pictures of people urinating through catheters and other types of tubes. The magic show is forgotten and the freakshow is in full swing. The crowd, all men, peer to get a closer look at the horrific pictures. He explains the biology of anything and everything. Is everyone wondering what I am wondering? Where is he going with this?

He gets folks to huddle around closer to hide the pictures from passersby. A girl dressed entirely in purple comes to see what the fuss is about, stays 2 minutes and then wanders off. I wonder to myself: in a catholic country how people learn about sex? In school? From parents? The show ends as suddenly as it begun: “Thanks for watching, folks, I’ll be performing this same show tomorrow. Tell your friends.”

I felt compelled to approach him afterwards. I ask him what the point of the show is. “Usually I sell vitamins.” He tells me, “but not today.” He sees himself on a crusade fighting poor Bolivian sexual health. “This is a Christian country” he says sadly, “people don’t even know what tantric sex is…”

1 reply
  1. Laura
    Laura says:

    Hi, I’m an Italian girl and I’ve been reading your posts about your trip across Bolivia and they’re GREAT, I was in Bolivia last summer and I’m waiting to book the ticket for being back there next july. That’s all, wanna just to thank you for your posts.

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