Dinosaurs and Dynamite

Trip Start Mar 27, 2007
Trip End Jun 27, 2007

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Thursday, April 26, 2007

So... this ws supposed to be my "tourist" day. Take the cheesy Saurus Bus up to the dinosaur footprints and spend the whole day surrounded by gringos. But it didnīt quite work out like that...

Sitting in a cafe in the morning I was surprised to hear explosions, and as the sounds got nearer, the owner got up and bolted the door. I looked out the window and there were hundreds of men marching past in helmets. I asked what was going on and he explaine dthat the miners were protesting, and Sucre being the constitutional capital of Bolivia, they had come here to march.

I snuck out of the cafe once the peaceful-looking protesters had passed, and went up to the Saurus Bus Stop in the main plaza, and was confused to see a queue of Bolivians. The first bus (aka open topped truck) was already full of yet more Bolivians, and we were told we would have to wait for it to come back. So we waited and waited and I ended up chatting to the young Bolivian next to me. Turned out that all the miners, having finished with their march, had decided to make the most of their trip t Sucre (10 hours from their native Oruro) and do a bit of tourism. So, the Saurus Bus it was...

We all jumped in when it finally arrived, and I continued to chat to the charming Daniel, who it turned out was a company engineer rather than a miner. He told me 3000 of the companyīs workers had turned out to protest against a new law, and that today most of them were hungover. I asked him about the explosions, and he replied "Dynamite". Agh. Although apparently it was ok, because only one policeman was injured.

So I took the opportunity to ask him about other things I had seen in Bolivia, such as the men sitting at desks by the side of the road, typing away on typewriters. He replied, without any hint of condescension towards either my ignorance or the people he was talking about, that in a country with such high levels of illiteracy, people go to these "scribes" to get letters written, as even those who are literate would probably not be able to compose a formal letter.

People here are very curious to know how you have so much money, and it really is no use protesting that you donīt, that you work hard, that Europe is a very expensive place to live... the fact is that I am loaded here, that I have paid holidays, that my nationality gives me a freedom that these people cannot even begin to comprehend. The women here do not work, not because of the absence of feminism, or a lack of education, but because there are simply not enough jobs to go round for all the men. In Danielīs words, the women go to university, study for five years, then get marired and hang their certificte above the kitchen table.
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