Monday Monday - Sucre comes back to life!

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

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Monday, March 24, 2008

If a city can change from Sunday to Monday, that is certainly Sucre. What a change since yesterday! With most shops and official buildings closed yesterday it has suddenly turned into life today and there are literally thousands of people all over the place with the traffic collapsing the streets.

We managed to find the tourist office where a young chap managed to find the numbers on the tourist map! He basically read the tourist map out to us and was not capable of replying to other questions we had...he seemed very new.

In any case with a good tourist map in hand we had a few places to visit.

We firstly went North to the "Parisian" area of Sucre (as they call it here as there is and Arc de Triumphe and a miniature Eiffel dog pooh though. We were disappointed by this last point!). It was a nice relaxing walk to the original colonial area with buildings dating back to the 1600s.

We then visited the general market which was the closest to an ant nest with thousands of buyers and sellers of everything you could possibly want or not need. Although crowded we did have quite a feeling of safety - certainly higher than in any street of Buenos Aires!

After a good set menu lunch at "El Germen" (veggie restaurant) for the high sum of 15 Bolivianos each (1.5 euro) we gathered energies to walk up the narrow white streets to the top of the city and its Mirador (views appear on our photos).

Just when we thought that we had nothing else to see and could start lazying about we bumped into the Museo Etnografico de Bolivia. It has a great collection of 50 masks used in the different fiestas and carnivals of Bolivia.

The mask themselves were fantastic (all original) and with a great resemblence to Chinese dragon mask with a mix of Spanish "piss taking" decorations. The guide of the museum (owned by the Bank of Bolivia) then insisted in taking 3 of us (a Bolivian tourist was around) to the second floor to personally show us the exhibition of the Chipaya group (living close to Titicaca). He put so much passion in his explanations that we just wanted to stay there and listen to him more and more. We think he noticed as he insisted we see a couple of videos of Bolivian culture and traditions which were old and tourist event orientated but good none the less. An the best part...its free. Probably the best museum up to now and totally free.

The guide had a good quote when he was talking about the love of dancing that the Bolivian people have. He said "we Bolivians dance all the time, we dance for happiness, we dance for sadness, and sometimes we dance when we are forced to" (referring to official parades which many Bolivians are made to go to). This Sunday many school children missed their Easter Sunday holiday in order to parade for the "Sea Day" (see notes yesterday).

So that is our day generally for today (apart from laundry duties and tasting lovely food in different restaurants while only spending 50% of our daily budget!)

After the Museum videos today and reading a bit more on the information received what we realise is that even though we will spend over 3 weeks in Bolivia, we will be missing quite a few things that we would have loved to see. Oh well! Thats the perfect excuse to return some day and see Tarabuco, the Madidi national park, Cochabamba, Lake Poopoo.

You have to give credit to a county that can have both its main lakes with names that sound like turd in English (Titicaca and Poopoo) cant beat that toilet humour.

By the way, Sucre is packed with academies and schools offering Spanish lessons for foreigners (normally at USD 6 the hour which is very cheap). We can understand why many students will come here:
- the city is very comfortable
- plenty of things to visit and trips to do from here
- the Bolivians speak a very pure Spanish (with no accent similar to the Argentinians or the Chileans)
- its very very cheap

Anyway. Off to Potosi tomorrow to sniff around there. Tara for now!
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