Turkey and brussels sprouts

Trip Start Sep 19, 2005
Trip End Mar 19, 2006

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Bolivian Christmas!

Its been ages since I last wrote, and I'm still in Sucre. Its been over 3 weeks now since I arrived here, and although I'm already getting slightly itchy feet, I reckon I'll be here till the end of January.

The Spanish classes are going well, and I have also started working at a girls' home in the afternoons for a couple of hours. There are about a dozen girls living for varying lengths of time in the home, and are all "at risk" in some way or another, or their parents are so poor they can't look after them. The youngest is 8 and the oldest 16. Basically I get to go in the afternoons to play! My drawing and painting skills are comprehensively laughed at, but its really fun and nice to give the girls a bit of attention and chat to them.

I bought some Christmas decorations for the home as they only just about have the budget to house the girls and pay for a cook to feed them, and took a couple of people from the hostel with me to help put them up last week. We had a really good afternoon and I'll stick up some photos when I can - its proving really difficult but one day I will get around to it!

I'm still lviing at the same hostel as finding an apartment to rent proved to be really impossible. Its not that there aren't any, its either that the landlords wanted us (one of the girls at the hostel was looking with me) to sign up for 3 months, or they were completely unfurnished. As heavy as my backpack is, there isn't a bed and a wardrobe in there, so I figured I was better off where I am for now. Can't complain when I am paying only a couple of quid a day for my own room. And its fun - there is a group of us in the hostel who have been around for a while, so we had a lovely Christmas together and I got some great pressies for my b-day yesterday which was so sweet.

And Christmas, well that was an experience. First let me say that the kitchen in the hostel is pretty much the worst I have come across so far in South America. Still, having a large bee in my bonnet about cooking a Christmas turkey, I was determined to do something proper for Christmas.

So, we 6 "oldtimers" from the hostel managed to have a complete Christmas dinner - including sprouts! The only thing we couldn't get hold of was cranberries and parsnips! But plum jam worked pretty well for cranberry sauce. We ordered a 6 kilo turkey from Cochabamba, a city about 10 hours away by bus, and I took three trips down to the market to get all the veg. Apart from the sprouts we had mashed carrot and swede, roast AND mashed potatoes, brocoli, cauliflower, and bacon rolls. I even made stuffing. And if I may say so myself, my turkey was fab! I got up really early to get it in the oven and went back to bed for a bit. I had planned on serving up at about 2pm but it was about 4.15 in the end (I'm blaming the rubbish oven!) We're still eating it in soup form today!

Needless to say much red wine was consumed, and we treated ourselves to some lovely Argentinian wine instead of gut-rotting Bolivian stuff. All told the whole lot, including all the booze, food, decorations, santa hats, fairy lights and an enormous chocolate cake (also still going) cost us about 20 quid a head, which was great. Emma and Tom even bought us a little Christmas tree so we had somewhere to put our secret santa pressies!

So all in all a really great day.

Just to keep up with a British-horrible-weather-tradition, it absolutely chucked it down on Christmas eve, with lots of thunder and lightning. I thought we were going to be ok for the day time but of course just as we were serving up, it started raining again, so we had to eat indoors. Mostly the weather here is really good but in the last few days its been colder, and there's been storms every day with the longest rumbles of thunder I've ever heard! It must be something to do with the altitude, as we are at about 2,700 metres here, not high by Bolivian standards but still enough to make you realise the air is a bit thinner than home.

My birthday yesterday was also great, and Mike, Emma, Tom and Rebecca surprised me with some lovely presents, and we had a great dinner out too. Even had bacon butties for breakfast!

This afternoon we are going to make an effort to see something in Sucre besides bars and restaurants, and head off to see the dinosaur tracks just outside of town.

Also, in exciting news, I think I will have a little bit more time than I thought I had here (assuming I can change my flight ok), so will be able to see a little bit of Peru before I leave, instead of a mad dash to Lima airport from La Paz. So, although the Inca Trail is closed for cleanup in February, Machu Picchu itself is still open, and I should be able to go on the train! All very exciting, and it makes me wish I hadn't chopped out Peru from my guidebook in an effort to make my backpack lighter!

Hopefully photos to follow soon, hope everyone is well and has a happy new year!

Sarah xx
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