Leah’s Birthday in Tarija, Bolivia

Posted by on Jul 18, 2011 in Bolivia | 2 comments

Leah celebrated her birthday in Tarija, Bolivia. I was a little worried, this was a big one, and I really wanted to make it special for her. At home, I probably would have thought of something really special for us to do, go out for a nice dinner (or make one), and finish the night with wine on the terrace overlooking downtown Atlanta. But in Bolivia… what to do? Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America so it can be hard to make someone feel special when you can’t drink the water, the showers are lukewarm at best, and you are sharing a bathroom with the room next door… this was going to be a challenge.
We started the day with a wine tour of the Tarija region. We stopped at 3 wineries and a beautiful canyon. (more on that with Leah’s next blog)

We checked into the nicest hotel in Tarija, Bolivia. Hotel del Sol is right next to the main square and the market. Dead center in the middle of all the action of Tarija. We had our own bathroom! Hot showers! Towels! A flat screen TV with satellite, a mini fridge, a balcony, and a bed with a proper mattress! (proper mattress means we don’t feel the springs or boards below the mattress when we laid down)

We watched all sorts of garbage. We hadn’t seen TV a while, and there were a good 10 channels in english. We watched reality tv, music videos, a movie, and news all in english! We were living the high life.

Next to our hotel was a nice restaurant where I had a nice fillet mignon ($5usd) and Leah had some nachos. Before we came to South America we thought for sure tortillas and nachos would be everywhere, just like Mexico. Nope, these are the first nachos we’ve seen on the menu in months. Happy Birthday, Leah. After dinner we relaxed in the main park for a while, enjoyed a couple freshly squeezed orange juices (0.50usd) and then headed back to the room to watch some more american tv.

I told Leah to enjoy Bridezillas while I went to get her a cake. Where to find a cake in Bolivia? Well, luckily I’d been scanning the markets while we walked around earlier in the week and saw a couple of booths with cakes. So I walked into the “cake” section of the food market and browsed the 15 booths dedicated to cakes to find the best one. I found a nice one with flowers, chocolate, strawberries, and the lady offered to write “Feliz Cumpleanos Leah” in sugar on the cake. Sold.

Leah loved the cake and we brought it to the terrace on top of the hotel. We enjoyed the cake while overlooking the busy markets of Tarija below.


  1. Congrats, Ben! Sounds like you done good! Leah looks very happy in the picture, so she must have loved it all. Glad your day was happy, our dear Leah. Love your posts and we’re glad you’re both still having a swell time. Love you!

  2. Wow Leah! Sounds like this is a birthday that you will never forget. Truly makes you appreciate the “little things” and how special your relationship is. Happy birthday again! We miss you! xo

Leave a Reply