La Paz to Sucre. Llama foetus´, back to school and the government banning me from drinking !

Sucre Travel Blog

 › entry 14 of 31 › view all entries
Well here we are, sitting in Santigo Chile in front of the first FREE internet we have had in weeks and its abut time i caught up with myself over what we have been getting up to since I last wrote, waaaaay back when in Bolivia (Its incredible how the time goes, I mean its totally nuts when you compare how fast this is going in comparison to how slow time went when I was waiting to finish work, time is not a constant kids, its a bastard !!!)
anyhoo, so Im here with H plugged into a PC from 1946 that I hope is working (and will update) with a charming couple from Holland behind me ( the same ones we met waaay back in Villacabamba oddly enough) probably waiting to use the PC, but I aint budging before this is done ! then Im off to the Pub ! I have downloaded Juanes´ LA CAMISTA NEGRA ( thanks to Damian for that one) to get me in the mood ...
so where were we, ah yes , LA PAZ !! Capitol of Bolivia, famed for its Frenetic nature, witches markets and the strangest prison in the world... more of which later....
so with H still a bit dangerous round the edges, we set off on another bus ride into La Paz from the lakeshore resort we had been temporaraly stranded in...The bus itself was odd, not the one we booked but a smaller minibus hidden in a hotel car part ( not our hostel I hasten to add) but it got us there none the less. The trip was nicely punctuated with an impromptu ferry ride across the lake ( we took a passenger boat, while our bus was poled over on a wooden raft from 1846 or thereabouts, but again it got there ok - note, this is my general opinion of Bolivia, a bit dodgy but gets there in th end !)
We arrived in La Paz ( as I have stated), the view coming in from the shanty town up on the hillside to see the city nestled within the mountanous peaks was worth the trip itself, it was truely amazing ! After getting dropped off we stormed across town to find a hostel ( as loads were full) by which time, my (according to my brother) bi-polar dispondency kicked in and I got in a grump so we spent the first night in la Paz at the hostel because I was too stroppy to go out for dinner.. what an arse !!!!
The next day was much better ( ahhh mood swings ) we found a nice cafe and had lunch watching 3 or 4 thousand bolivians protesting about imported cars or something, protesting seems very In at the moment.... After this the heavens opened and we hid at the coca musum learning about the history of the leaf and trying more tea and cookies, then we saw the famous witches market.. well, apart from the dried llama foetus hanging from every stall ( for luck when you build your house apparently) most of the ¨remedies¨seemed to include a picture of a older grey haired man with a young busty blonde.. not sure exactly what these cures are for, I assume some sort of dating aid.. but my spanish was not so good to read the details I was not too impressed !
In the evening we moved onto the ENGLISH CURRY HOUSE !! yay !! We booked a table and everything for a romantic evening and to quell my curry lust, so we had the best table in the place all ready.... however.... when we arrived and sat down we were advised by a laughing young argentinian to possibly move tables.. as his friend at the next table had tried the super hot ¨win a tshirt if you finish it¨ vindaloo and upchucked it all over the table ! bugger.... so the only other free table.. next to the fridge and the toilets , was not so good, but ok, and the food was exellent, so not too bad all in  !
After this we sank a few beers and met some other travellers in OLIVERS TRAVELS, a brit owned bar with a barman from Brownhills .. so we waxed lyrical about the best curry houses in Brum for a while ( SHEBAB IN QUINTON !!!) and got back to the hostel quite late....
On the following morning , on the recommendation of some of the people we met the night before, we went to see the famous prison..It is famous for a book written about it by a brit and is the only prison of of is kind in the world. The prisoners pay to be there and have to make a living somehow.. so it has shops and restaurants, if you are rich you have a nice room , cable tv etc.. families and kids can come and go etc... it used to be the case that as an official tour you could visit, but now its all unofficial, and (in my opinion) pretty bad as one of the prime reasons for going ( as told to us by some very excitable and wide pupiled travellers in the bar) is that at the end of the tour you can buy direct some of the purest cut, best grade A, and cheapest cocaine in Bolivia... Well, I got on my high horse and refused to go on principal, H wanted to see it , not for the drugs but as its the only place of its kind in the world, but I won the arguement and we only saw it from the outside.. a bit of a shame I know, But I stand by my priciples !!!
The best part of the day (for me) was getting on the wrong side of a police blockade..( ie not the action side but the quiet deserted side) while riots were going on around us ( we met some girls that got tear gassed as were in the wrong place at the wrong time ! all because of the referendum !!!)
In the evening we jumped a night bus heading down to Sucre, the second (judical) capitol. the bus was great, full bed seats, movies etc excellent ! BUT H got really bad belly sick about 4am and the trip ( without bathroom) rapidly became a nightmare an Sucre could not come fast enough !
We arrived about 10 am and found a hostel ASAP, after which the world was a nicer place again !! When H was up and about we explored the lovely colonial town and I tried Inca Beer... imagine Guiness with about 1kg of sugar mixed in....yuk ! anyhoo, we decided we liked it here so signed up for a weeks spanish lessons ( 4 hrs per day) at a bolivan spanish school , the shock of which sending me straight back to bed  !!! school.. ME !! I have not been to school for an AGE !! eeeep how scary !!!
So... First Lesson 8.30 am.. with Estrella, and thank heaven , she has the patience of an angel.. so we are at the level of ALPHABET .. like a 5 year old child.. but its quite fun and kind of how the week went.. she was a very good teacher and if I remember my verb tables ( as ingrained into me from HOURS of homework) I should be OK from now on.. And that was us for 6 days, 4 hours spanish in the mornings and then freedom in the afternoons and evenings...
The school also arranged fun stuff, so, for example , on the first night we found ourselves at one of the teachers houses , for a chicken nugget and booze evening WITH KARAOKE !! and no escape.. I represented for UK with a little elvis, Monkees and of course YMCA  !! H has the video apparently for your viewing pleasure, but, in my defence,  I did win an award as one of the evenings favourite singers .. RESULT !!!
We met a lot of people in Sucre as our hostle seemed to be party central and our room was directly on the courtyard, so as we could not sleep, we may as well join the party! there were a bunch of australian girls travelling together that were great fun ( we  met them in a bar on the first sat night..  seriously.. one of them was called Div.. no joke.. Div !!), a peruvian chef who would cook up quiche, stir fry with oyster sauce etc in the limited hostel kitchen, some frenchies etc.. all of which were very nice and we spent many evenings in the hostel kitchen courtyard drinking bad bolivian wine until 3am ! Especially on australia day, when we helped them all to celebrate so that they did not miss home too much !
The week in Sucre passed really quick.. we also saw a folk concert of Bolivias biggest band with so many people trying to get in the word ´Hillsborough¨ would not be out of place! We went to an awful Disco and met the worlds most obnoxous irishman ( his introductory gambit was to show me a photo of him actually having sex with a bolivain girl on his mobile phone !!!), we saw some dinosaur tracks at a concrete factory ( Note to JT, we have seen 3 or 4 concrete factories now.. its like a mini tour !!) did a lot of home cooking ( as most of the fun was to be had at the hostel) and a lot of chatting !.
 The most noteable thing about our stay however, and the major topic of conversation, was the referendum on Bolivias new constitiutuion, and Sucre was a NO town !! with Posters and flyers etc...of course after gaining a brief understanding of the politics, all the travelling community really cared about was.. how will this effect me !! Rioting, bus cancellations, road blocks etc.. this was the major topic of conversation for the whole week ! With all the worry, the net effect was that for the weekend of the elections , there were no buses.. no big deal, we were not planning to leave, but some others were stranded for a couple of days..
The biggest effect was the booze !! the government had imposed an alcohol ban.. from Thursday night until monday morning. Bars supermarkets etc could NOT sell ANY booze !! and you could be fined 200Bol just for being caught drinking !! SHIT !! and ... being prepared as ever.. we did not really believe the rhumors and had NOTHING !!! MY WORST NIGHTMARE !!!!!
Luckily for us, the nice old ladies at the market did not hold with the constitiutuion and sold us lots of lovely wine that we smuggled back to the hostal and spent the looooong dry weekend drinking heavily until the early hours with our australian chums and reflecting on how many riots would happen after the result.....(actually none)...
The next day we set off south for Potosi, one of the few places you can legally buy dynamite... ready to blow some shit up !!!! yay!!
so until next time kids.... stay Baggie !!
M&H. xxx

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photo by: AndySD