Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Where I stayed
Colon - 110 Bs double with bathroom, tv, breakfast - Excellent

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Sunday, March 23, 2008

What a lovely place Sucre is, and what a contrast with the rest of Bolivia. Actually to be fiar the three places we have visited in Bolivia have been completely different (Salt Flat, Horse Riding and now Andalusian Spain!)
As you can see from the pictures all the city is painted in white as the Spanish colonials did, and the streets are continued ups and downs along the different hills.
Sucre is the second city of Bolivia, and has the Judiciary Power (High Courts) here so has always been a rival to La Paz. It also used to be the capital of Bolivia in the colonial times, where all the Spanish representatives and beaurocrats lived.
Given it was Easter Sunday most of the town and certainly the museums and official buildings are closed so we have just walked around and finally updated all the photographs that we couldnt update in Uyuni and Tupiza. We have Monday to go to the different places.
What we didn enjoy is a great lunch at "La Casona" for 40 Bolivianos each (3.5 euros). It was a set menu but excellent taste of local products. Tonight we will pass on going out and just cook come "hostal room special" with our camping cooker.
We did manage to find an excellent fruit market at Arce street and bought all sorts (apples, chirimoya, granadas) for 10 Bolivianos in total. We are sure they have ripped us off but around here anything for less than 80 cents of a euro is not worth bartering least we dont waste energy in that!
What we did have time to do is to read the local newspaper and we are pressing ahead with our travel timetable as we want to be sure to be in La Paz before this coming Thursday. The problem is that Mr. Evo Morales has immitated some of the Venezuelan market practices and has forbidden all export of oil (edible type) with immediate effect (Decreto Supremo 29480).
The reason for this prohibition is to avoid the producers to sell the oil to neighbouring countries where they get a much better price. The problem for the producers is that Mr Morales has set a maximum price for oil in Bolivian in order to keep inflation at bay, and that price is not sufficient to cover they prefer to sell outside Bolivia.
The strike will be from the 3,000 lorry drivers that currently carry all the oil to other countries and who with immediate effect have found themselves without clients! Therefore we forsee that some roads will be blocked (it wouldnt be the first time!) and would make our trip to Peru a bit of a nightmare...
That is not the only segment that is suffering the Venezuelan market theories...gas canisters (or home has bottles) are also under state restriction, and there is a new regulation which forbids its sale to Peru.
Currently a canister costs 20 Bolivianos in Bolivia, while in Peru they can be sold for 80 Bolivianos. Its obvious what people are going to do. The best part is that in order to avoid the sale of gas canisters to Peru, the economy minister has ordered all canisters to be painted a different colour to keep control of them! No one really knows how this will stop the black market in Peru!

There is a good article on BBC internet today on the same problem with diesel oil. Bolivia maintains an artificial and subsidised price for its oil (bought from Venezuela). However Bolivians take it to Peru where they can get about 140 Euros per boat load...a hell of a lot of money here!
Anyway from what we are reading and from the posters and graffitti we have seen in Sucre it wont be too long before Bolivia totally crumbles into civil strife and we plan to be out of here before then!
On the historic side, Bolivia today celebrates its "Dia del Mar" (Sea Day) to emphasise that they want their coast back from Chile. They lost it in 1879 in the Pacific War against Chile. The rumour has it that when Eduardo Abaroa (leader of the Bolivian troops) was asked to surrender he replied "Que se rinda su abuela, Carajo!" (let your granmother surrender, bugger!).
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