Trip Start Mar 16, 2006
Trip End Jul 13, 2006

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Saturday, April 22, 2006

Sucre is a 3 hour drive east of Potosi on a PAVED road. How exciting this was for us! We have not seen a paved road since we left Santiago! However, due to heavy fog, the journey took 4.5 hours. Again, it was a single lane, so the bus was beep-beeping the whole way to avoid collisions.

Sucre is great, apparently the prettiest city in all of Bolivia. It has lots of beautiful buildings and impressive plazas, meticulously kept. This is a student town and is the judicial centre of Bolivia so there are streets full of lawyers (no joke). There are entire streets with law firms and others full of dentists...not that we could see their work on the locals as most of them had lovely toothless grins. This was very apparent in a journey we took to Tarabuco, a local village nearby (2 hours away on a PAVED road)that hosts a colourful textiles market. This was a shopping opportunity (according to Anne Marie)not to be missed, Bolivia is very cold due to high altitude. As usual, our little van/bus/taxi vehicle, a Toyota LiteAce which carries 8 comfortably ends up being jam-packed with 12 people, all locals laughing at the 3 gringos. Of course, they were kind enough to offer us coca leaves and moonshine. We politely refused but our driver didnī we go again....another Juan! We arrived there safely though.

We bought a few little presents but mostly enjoyed watching the locals in their fantastic traditional outfits, really amazing hand-woven ponchos, skirts and hats.

Until now, we have been getting by with our broken Spanish but thought we would benefit by doing a language course. We enrolled in a school and were in class at 8.15am every day for 4 hours. For one week, we spent the mornings at school, then went sight-seeing in the afternoons and did our homework in the evenings.

In one of the local museums, there was a room which contained a lot of masks, these are worn during certain festivals, some of which go on for 3 - 4 days. People have been known to die whilst wearing these masks because they cannot remove them during the festival and can only drink water, no food. These people are also usually older and earn the prestige of wearing the mask....crazy but are treated like gods afterwards.

There is a really great musuem which houses the art of the surrounding areas. The local art of course is weaving, it displays how the textile weaving evolved with the influence of different cultures that took over the area, the Spanish, the Incas, the Tiwanakau, etc. Very interesting.

Also, Anne Marie is now a celebrity in Bolivia!! She was picked from hundreds of students to appear in tourist brochures published by the government. The campaign was to encourage/inform tourists not to carry packages for others, just in case they are bombs, drugs, etc. I am now her bodyguard and am fighting off the paparazzi as well the druglords. No, Mr.McClafferty, we will definitely NOT visit Colombia.

This is too much, off to La Paz now where she will not be recognised...hopefully!
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