The White City

Trip Start Nov 15, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sucre - city of white houses, UNESCO World Heritage listed, a small city that owes much of its wealth to its neighbour Potosí.

A very comfortable and familiar place to stay. We walk the city searching for a good Spanish school and find Fox - a non-profit organisation that teaches Spanish to tourists to subsidise English lessons for locals. It's light on advertising and real estate, but high on value and quality. Our teacher Tatiana is one of the best we've ever had, a vivacious brunette, outspoken, racy, and uncharacteristically independant.

She tells a story of when she was pregnant her mother instructed her to prepare a soup of bull's penis - Caldo de Caldon (apparently high in essential vitamins and minerals - men drink it like viagra). She placed the floppy penis in boiling water and was startled when a few minutes later the penis, now fully erect, started tapping on the lid off the saucepan eventually pushing it off. Of course, she´d forgotten an essential step - to chop the penis into pieces (cringe). There are plenty more stories where this one came from.

We also stay with Mimo, Maluqui and Daniela in their Sucre mansion, the largest colonial house left standing in Sucre. It must be close to 400 years old, with creaky floorboards, bright yellow walls on the inside, an ancient tile-covered roof, and a large garden courtyard with a huge tree growing to one side. Mimo and Maluqui are artists, and the house is decorated with paintings and sculptures. Mimo also works in the local anthropological museum and before we leave we visit the museum and marvel at the mummies and intentionally elongated skulls (the Inca´s idea of beauty).

Tatiana takes us for a walk through the campesino market, with piles of mandarins, tomatoes, and witches (brujas) stalls selling various ingredients for spells, including animal foetuses, and human bones. We drop in on a guitar / charango maker and I have a short jam with the inebriated owner.

Tatiana has convinced us to return to Sucre after our trip to the Salar de Uyuni (the salt plains). We'll be back!
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