One of the things that makes Copacabana unique is that the local church performs daily blessings for vehicles. People come from all across the country (and even Peru and Chile) to get their cars blessed – sometimes even entire fleets of trucks show up.
We’re not particularly religious, but we figured it couldn’t hurt.
The vehicles start lining up an hour or so beforehand and it’s tradition to deck them out in fresh flowers and trinkets. Ladies selling all the necessary gear have conveniently set up stalls right outside the church. We shopped around and figured about $10 USD worth of decorations would be enough to get us noticed from above. Bode went off an bought some flowers on his own. He got a good price.
I saw another overlander drive by and stick their head out in confusion (a Land Rover with French placas) so I explained in my best Spanish what they were missing. They quickly jumped in line and pulled out their wallet.
Right on time, the show began. Religious amounts of holy water was sprinkled over each car – including the interior and engine compartment. We even got a little shower ourselves. A few words were said in Spanish (no clue) and that’s it – we were blessed.
Our white-robed padre stuck out his hand and we were told that 10 Bolivianos were in order for the privilege. He slipped the propina into his vestments faster than you can say ‘hail mary’ and he was off to the next car.
People celebrated with fireworks and spraying cheap champagne all over their cars. How better to celebrate?