Sucre; markets, religion and culture

Trip Start Nov 03, 2012
Trip End Dec 31, 2012

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Where I stayed
Wasi Masi Sucre
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Bolivia  , Chuquisaca,
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Woke this morning with a number of mozzie bites that would increase in irritation as the day proceeded.

Went down stairs to breakfast armed with postcards and stamps to prepare messages to the forlorn jealous types we had left behind. This mornings breakfast was the same thick coffee but thin bread roles instead of toast. As our innards had begun to behave themselves we added butter and an apricot spread to them.
Coffee was a little cool, but otherwise it was a good start to the day.

Went for a morning stroll to the main square and it's surrounds. Something always seems to be happening.
On approach we encountered a marching band in splendid uniforms playing the signature tune of marching bands the world over.
Doum doum
Doum doum
Douuuuuuum doum doum.

On the initial lap of the square we stopped in at the Joyride Tour shop to book our overnight bus tickets to La Pas in cama (fold back to almost a bed) seats.  Assisted by a friendly agent in heavily accented english we were able to book a reservation - it cost 300BOB ($50) for both of us.  The bus is scheduled to depars at 7pm and arrives in La Pas at 7am - hopefully we get some sleep!

On the other side of the square there was a small but loud protest. Fire crackers were in high use making a point between each chant and making us monetarily think we were in the midst of an armed rebellion. The pigeons didn't seem to worried so we decided it was safe.
The Abis Cafe' called us loudly and so we heeded its call, if only to give us the opportunity to find out the burning question that arose when we last spoke to its owner. Was he Dutch? (Well, Alexis wanted to know at any rate)
He isn't.
He is Belgian.

In fact, a very talkative and interesting one. We had ordered some black coffees and a lemon based cold drink when he came over, recognizing us from the previous day.
The question of his origin was the beginning of a fascinating and prolonged reveal of pretty much his life story up to the point that our coffees had gone from hot, to warm to cool.  We thoroughly enjoyed chatting with him and in the end we had swapped contact details; told him if ever he landed in South Australia we would be more than happy to take him round the wineries and suggested the possibilities of opening a Bolivian restaurant in Adelaide. No doubt we'll back for one last coffee on the morrow.

We took the long way around the square heading to the market district looking for ingredients in preparation for a hostel cooked dinner.
The markets were loud, busy and colorful, and in places, not for the sensitive of stomach. Fabulous! Fruit, vegetables, herbs, condiments,... and the meats.
The meats were  prepared and displayed in a manner that 21st century minds forget was a standard in years gone by.
Open to the air, hung on hooks, hands occasionally waving flies away, but not often, only occasionally.
We picked up the makings of a stir fry with dry noodles, vegetables pre cut in little bags and some bananas for a total of 7.50BOB ($1.15AUD).
We resisted the purchase of meat at that time and got some cured bacon from the local supermarket.

Walked back to the hostel to store our dinner, ate some picnic style lunch and tackled the Hostel World web site to book two nights in La Paz.
Seems it liked neither my Paypal or MasterCard details via my lap top but eventually Tina's phone app (android) succeeded where much table thumping had failed.

A lazy midday passed and we poured over a map to look up our options for culture.
The Mirador "Ricoleta" was first on the list.
Up a prolonged incline it offered broad sweeping views of the city where it was possible to recognize the city square.
After we worked out that what we thought was the Museum was in fact the local Primary School - We found the Museo la Ricoleta on the opposite side of the square (10BOB per person which goes to cover maintenance costs).  The Museo was a preserved monastery with 6 Franciscan monks in residence. However it's claim of worth was its collection of holy art works, texts, statues and records of the early life of the Catholic Church in Bolivia.

We stopped off at a nearby cafe for a pisco sour because.
Well. Just because.
(6.5/10, a lot of froth but an imbalance between alcohol aftertaste and lemon foretaste)

The walk back down the hill brought us to the Museo de Santa Clara, a nunnery which had recently discovered a secret during maintenance. The entire forecourt of the cloister has, at one time, contained a mural that ran the length of the square depicting the story of Christ. Restoration work was underway and the 15BOB in entry fees was partially how it was funded.  The remainder was being supported by the Vatican or at least that's what we understood.
'We understood' is the phrase because the entire tour, of the cloister, tomb, relics, art display and the church itself, was done entirely in Spanish which we struggled to follow at times, understood the gust of at others, and at points, were left baffled, glancing at each other hoping there would not be a test.

Continuing down the hill towards the city square and our hostel we paused at the Museo de Etnografia y folklore which is a free display of ceremonial masks with the restriction, that no photos could be taken - sorry.
There was an obvious difference between the pre Spanish and post Spanish ritual masks. Both in materials (cloth and wood compared to gloss painted, articulated and in some cases, just bloody massive) and in theme. (Man and animals common to Bolivia compared to devils and beasts from beyond South America)  Some of them were absolutely spectacular and we were glad we took the time to have a look.

Cultured out for the day we went back to the hostel to cook our stir fry where we met a New Zealand couple and discussed the pros and cons of the various traveling paths around South America.
The TV room in Wasi Masi is often in use and so, for once we decided to eat in a social setting and watch a movie. Inception.
Hard to understand at the best of times, near impossible when you watch a dodgy knock off filmed by a person holding a video camera in a cinema.

A comparative late night ended in a heated debate on drafting and publishing this #$&% blog.
Slideshow Report as Spam

My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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Mum (H) on

I'm enjoying being an armchair "traveller", can't wait for the book!

kate on

I like the bit about the postcards

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