After the reporters left, I went to an office where
three plainclothesmen were waiting for me to fill out the forms necessary for
entering the country. I had no visa, and I was not a tourist. Contrary to
custom, they kept my passport and promised to return it to me at my hotel.
Actually, I did not get it until three days later. The police recommended the
Hotel Sucre, and the reporters took me there. |
I had been expecting
summer weather, but La Paz is chilly, even in summer. On the road down from the
airport to the city I glimpsed modern apartment houses in the middle of the
valley and Indians' huts on the slopes, but I did not feel too much out of my
element seeing all the ponchos, the brightly colored full skirts, the children
carried on their mothers' backs, and the stray dogs, for I already had some
acquaintance with Latin America owing to my visit to Guatemala in May 1967.
I was maneuvering, however, in a kind of dream landscape, for I had not
come to visit the country as a tourist but to achieve a purpose. I let the
visual impressions just wash over me, because I was afraid I might get
distracted from my mission if I looked around too much.
room opened on the street, and passers-by used my windowsill as a resting
place. Behind the Sucre was a stadium from which exciting music blared. That
and the altitude gave me a violent headache. The reporters reappeared and came
into my room one by one while the others waited in the corridor. I might as
well have had a red light outside my door.
I had my room changed. After
all, why make it easy for anyone who might want to molest me and would only
have to push the window open from the street to do so?
On Sunday, I
looked at the papers - Ultima Hora, Presencia, Hoy, El Diario, Nueva
Jornada all of which had big headlines: "Altmann Is Barbie," and
spread my proofs of their identity over several pages. I went to the
hairdresser, for I had had no time for that in Paris, and I got some rest.
In the evening, an employee of the Ministry of the Interior came and
wanted me to go to the Ministry with him. Thanks to an American who spoke
Spanish, I could ask whether an interpreter would be there. The answer was no.
In that event, I said, I'll postpone my visit until tomorrow.
understand what was worrying the police. They had