Bolivia Team - Week No. 1 in Sucre!
The Bolivia Gap Year team have been away for just over a week now, brushing up on their Spanish skills in beautiful Sucre. Here's the first installment of madness compliments of Eshan...
Day 1, zero hour, arriving in Sucre was the start of an already eventful trip. Gabriella had lost her bags and Jack didn't even have a flight out. We were met at the airport by Pete and taken to the Hostel Colon for the start of our 3 week stint in the capital of Bolivia. But far from being a restful experience it was the introduction to Carnival, Bolivian style. Almost every child in Sucre was armed with water balloons, super soakers or foam sprays. Needless to say it was messy and despite having hundreds of balloons to ourselves we returned from our first visit in Sucre absolutely soaked.
The night out was also particularly eventful because we were introduced to Pete's awesome game - upon sitting down with the first of many brutal caipi's he was met with a hushed ‘Wow' from the French Canadian ladies who were sitting at our table and who proceeded to surround him for the rest of the night. In particular, a certain dreadlocked beauty moved closer and closer, stopping only to caress his thigh.
With Carnival still in full swing lessons were off. But this time we knew what was required to survive the onslaught. We bought 1000 balloons for 10 of us and filled all of them as much as could be possible. The preparation was so intense that a fight broke out when Saskia dumped one down Eshan's neck. This time we didn't even make it to the main square; we used 400 balloons within 10 minutes on the crossroads near our hostels.
It might help to explain that during Carnival there are marauding bands of musicians and locals that march through the streets and soak everything and everyone, and then there are drive by shooters in trucks, and then there were snipers on balconies... and then there are cute little children who can't but not hit you. For dinner there was Pique a lo macho, the manliest of meals, beef, more beef, chips, cheese and beer sauce.
The first day of Spanish lessons started with a quick written and oral exam, hilarious not only because there were a few people who had never studied Spanish before but also because every single person was feeling the effects of Carnival. The groups were quickly divided and the first 8-hour lesson marathon began. Dinner was up a huge hill with the teachers and an awesome view of Sucre, where Gabe proceeded to explain his close relationship with the Kardashians to an enraptured Bolivian audience. But by Thursday tiredness had caught up to us and a quiet night in was on the cards.
Friday was a big day, lessons were cut down to the usual 4 hours for the rest of the trip and in the afternoon a trip to Dinosaur land was on the cards for the group. That night was the first night out for the group as a whole. It started in the School playing some games and meeting other students, and quickly progressed to bar Florin with the teachers... A few drinks later we were in a club dancing the night away.
After Friday a bit of R&R was on the cards as both heads and emotions were reeling from the night before. A 40 minute bus ride took us to a local Hacienda with great food, weather to match, a pool and some volleyball. The two days passed by very quickly and very peacefully. We can now safely say we would make a world-beating team on the volleyball court with the three hit rallies flowing by the end. A trip on Sunday to the local waterfalls was a good test for the upcoming treks and a great opportunity to see some Bolivian scenery in all its glory. The cloudy water prevented any big jumps but the waterfalls and sun provided plenty of entertainment......
Project and Expedition updates from the field - some to show the great work which is going on at our projects in South America and Africa, others just to make us jealous we're stuck here at home!