BOLIVIA: Forgotten Fortune

Children adored him; so did the mangy, half-starved dogs that wandered with him through the steep, cobblestoned streets of mountaintop La Paz. For 20 years, this tall foreigner with the long blond beard had gone about the Indian capital selling pencils. One morning two years ago, he was found dead in the streets—of a heart attack, the coroner said.

The beggar's name was Stephen Blau. He came from Austria during World War I. He opened a bazaar, buying & selling old paintings, stamps, clothes. For a time he did well, and at the peak of his prosperity represented Austria as...

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