Spanish, Babies and Juice!

Trip Start Apr 27, 2010
Trip End Apr 25, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hostal Cruz de Popayan

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sucre, located pretty much in the middle of Bolivia, is Bolivia's judicial capital but at only 200000 people is relatively small. It’s at 2800m so altitude still has an effect – you feel like a 40 a day smoker going up a slightly inclined street!

The town itself has been really well looked after and has many European style buildings, particularly around the main square. One thing you notice is they really know how to garden – every square has perfectly manicured gardens, often with the plants forming patterns and nice green lawns (which are probably green because no one is allowed to walk on them!).

The best thing about Sucre was the central market. Besides the standard stalls selling pasta in bulk, bread stands, lots of fruit and vege stalls and the usual meat (well offal really) sitting hygienically out in the open air, there was a huge line up of juice ladies ready to juice just about any fruit you could think of. For less than $1 you got two glasses of either juice or a milkshake made with fresh fruit! They also made incredible fruit salads with yoghurt and cream. So for the next 10 days Steph and I went for breakfast!

We decided that it might be a good idea to extend our Spanish a bit by taking five days of lessons and got a really good and cheap teacher for the two of us. The first four mornings were really good and I felt I consolidated a lot of knowledge. However, the last day we covered the past tense, I think my brain overloaded, I became significantly stupider and struggled to speak even basic Spanish! A bit of revision is going to be in order to rectify things.

We packed our days in Sucre, after our Spanish lesson and lunch, we went down to the local orphanage to help out. The kids there range from zero to about eight. The centre itself was actually in a nice building and had quite a few resources for playing with, which wasn’t what I had expected heading there.  We helped out with the kids up to about 2 years old. It was good fun, yet exhausting, entertaining them during the afternoon play period and trying to get them to develop a little more each day. It really stretched the Paeds knowledge from Uni. We also helped feed them at dinner, though on a few occasions I think a few of the kids I was feeding didn’t eat too much, with most of it covering them head to toe instead! I tried to avoid assisting with the changing before bedtime, however it was inevitable, but thankfully the two nappies I changed were empty. Definitely be looking at doing a bit more volunteering while we’re over here – I’d like to help build a school I think!

We did an independent day hike out of town which was a good change from all the study and trekked through a valley looking for the seven cascades – which of course, true to form, we didn’t find! However, three hours from anywhere we did stumble across a Quechan village that surprisingly had some massive Italian style homes (all white render and red terracotta).

We only had one big night in Sucre, we caught up with Lizzy and Lucan who we had been bumping into since the bus to Salta, for a few drinks but it kind of got carried away, resulting a few too many cheap spirits as we made our way through half the bars in town and what followed was the worst hangover of my life! To make things worse, we were planning on watching the world cup final at the Dutch bar in town the next day. I managed to drag myself there (Steph didn’t), stuck to the water and just managed to stick it out. I was kind of relieved the Dutch lost so I didn’t feel bad about missing the party.

We had to spend an extra day as all the buses to La Paz were full and so spent it lazing in the cafe at the top of the lookout over town. The extra time was appreciated as I was sick for the first time on the trip, running a high fever which definitely had nothing to do with all the drinking a couple of days before!
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