Republic of Bolivia I
Country and Development Data
Capital: Sucre and La Paz
Population: 8,857,870 (rank=86)
Area, sq. mi.: 424,165 (rank=27)
Area, sq. km.: 1,089,581
Human Dev. Index rank: 113 of 177 countries
Adjusted for women: 89 of 140 countries
Real GDP per capita: $2,587
Adult literacy rate: 93% (male); 80% (female)
Infant mortality rate: 53 per 1,000 births
Life expectancy: 62 (male); 66 (female)
Retrieved from Bolivia's Culturegram
Customs and courtesy
Spanish-speaking Bolivians greet friends and acquaintances with a cheerful ¡Buenos días! (Good morning), ¡Buenas tardes! (Good afternoon), or ¡Buenas noches! (Good evening), you have to say it like you really mean it! . To say How are you? you could say ¿Cómo estás? in Spanish, Imaynalla kanki in Quechua, or Kamisaki in Aymara. ¿Cómo es? Is just the wrong way to say how are you? and sometimes you can get a smart answer!
In Bolivian Spanish, one adds the title Señor (Mr.), Señora (Mrs.), or Señorita (Miss) for first-time introductions or when greeting strangers. Señorita is used for any woman, even little cute girls, unless she is older or the speaker knows she is married. Bolivians show respect for a person by using the title Don (for men) or Doña (for women) before his or her first name. Rural people (campesinos) even use these titles with close friends. Strangers do not call each other by first name.
Eye contact is important, professional or academic titles with the surnames are used in business, common titles are "Doctor" (medical doctor or Ph.D.), "Ingeniero" (engineer), and "Licenciado" (lawyer or university degree). If someone does not have a title, the honorific titles Señor, Don or Señora, Doña are used with the surname. Business cards are exchanged during the initial introductions, try to have a side of the business card translated into Spanish, If you are foreigner, look like one and sound like one, do not feel offended if they call you "Mister" , it is just respect!
Greetings are accompanied by a handshake. However, if a person's hand is wet or dirty (We are hard workers and our hands show it), he or she may offer an arm or elbow. It is important to greet everyone in a home. In cities, greetings for both men and women are always accompanied by a kiss on or near the cheek. Bolivians maintain little personal space and stand close during conversation. Close friends and relatives frequently greet with an abrazo, it consists of a hug, a handshake, two or three pats on the shoulder, and another handshake. Female friends often embrace and kiss each other on the cheek. They commonly walk arm in arm.
Spanish farewells include Hasta luego (Until later) or the casual Chau or chausito among friends also Nos Vemos (see you later). Try to avoid Adiós implies good-bye for a long time. In both Quechua and Aymara Q'ayaqama means “See you tomorrow.”
Next Friday....... Gestures, Visiting and Eating!
(This weekly section is dedicated to my soon to be relatives (Let's pray for that) : Wes and Daisey Jones going to visit Bolivia soon!)