Central courtyard, Casa de Libertad. Built by Jesuits in C16th
Morning is the same as usual. L comes to my hotel from 9 till 12. When she comes I sit on the bed and rest, with an ice pack on my knee part of the time. We decide this morning that my knee is no longer hot (caused by the bacteria/infection/bone fissure), nor swollen. It has been nearly a week and is the first time since last Wednesday that I can feel some improvement. Nevertheless I am very careful as I don’t want a cracked kneecap.
The doctor gave up on me some time ago; definitely not used to Australian patients, let alone one like me. It seems he nearly had a heart attack when he saw that I had had ½ a glass of red wine and then when Lilliana went to take the glass away and I said to leave it, it was all too much for him. I thought it was all very funny and in good humour, but apparently he couldn’t cope with such a wayward patient.
Casa de Libertad, Room where Declaration of Independence signed (copy in foreground). Paintings L-R, Antonio Jose Sucre, Simon Bolivar, Whatsisname.
I found out afterwards that doctors are like gods in Bolivia and patients always kowtow to them. Bit like Australia 50 years ago. Anyway I’ve finished the course of tablets and wear the splint whenever I leave the room. I'm supposed to wear it for 3 weeks. I will probably see another doctor in La Paz and get another x-ray, before I take off the splint. So, for me, I’m being very sensible.
The knee injury has really changed everything and I’ve found it much harder to concentrate on learning Spanish in the mornings, for a variety of reasons. I do, however, practice lots of times during the day.
I’m feeling much steadier on my feet today and I go down to the market.
The watch shop that I want isn’t open, but I see two watches that I like in other shops and buy them both. They’re the sort that I’ve found impossible to buy in Perth; one is digital, they both have the date on them and I can actually read the time without having to get out a magnifying glass. One is BOB125, AUD17, the other is a Casio with Chronometer and alarm, BOB130, AUD18.70. For some reason men’s watches have the date, but women’s don’t. (Same in Oz and Bolivia). I realize that some women’s watches are very small, but, even so there are plenty of watches that have room for the date, but don’t have it; if you get my drift.
Other end of room. The gold is gold/gold leaf.
BTW, shop doesn’t necessarily mean shop. A large cupboard is also classed as a shop.
After buying the watches I go to the Casa de Libertad, which is now a museum.
Entry BOB10, AUD1.44 locals; BOB15, AUD2.16 foreigners. I get there at ¼ to 3 and there is a tour in English starting in 5 minutes; what luck. There are six of us on the tour and the guide talks about the history of Sucre. I have been told that the tour will last about ¾ hour. At the end of the tour the guide talks about present day Bolivia and its problems; there is the opportunity to ask questions and it is 5 o’clock before I leave the museum. He has been a very interesting guide and what value for AUD2.16. I don’t for a moment resent paying more for entry to museums etc. than the locals; this is a common practice in Bolivia and the fees are a mere pittance anyway.
Perils of the footpath
Tonight I venture out to the restaurant La Casona which is recommended by one of the receptionists, Claudia. I ask for no salt and take the waiter’s recommendation for the beef “lomo” (loin)as being the most tender.
It’s probably the best piece of meat that I’ve had in Bolivia, if only because it isn’t covered in salt. I also buy a bottle of red wine, but bring most of it back to the hotel, and have some ice-cream. I meant to have the flan but said Si to the helado, when I meant to say Si to the flan. The lomo is BOB31, AUD4.44 and served with chips and “salad”, helado about BOB7, AUD1 and the Bolivian red wine is a larger than usual size bottle and is expensive at BOB80, AUD11.50. There is much cheaper wine on the menu; some at BOB10, AUD1.44 a glass. The meal is fine, but the ambience is about zero in the room that I’m in.
More perils of the footpaths
I take a taxi to and from La Casona. Taxis are cheap and plentiful and it’s very easy to get to La Casona which is about 10 to 15 minutes from the hotel (peak hour).
The deal with taxis in Sucre goes something like this. Around town during the day is BOB3, AUD0.43 during the day until 4 or 6 pm, can’t remember which. Then until 10 it’s BOB4 and after 10 it’s BOB5. If you go to the outskirts of town it’s an extra Boliviano. The cost is per person in the taxi, not like in Oz where it’s the same for 1, 2, 3, 4 people.