Meeting everyone for the first time in the airport was pretty daunting but within no time we all got to know each other really well, maybe even too well! One of the most exciting things that happened in the first few days was the arrival of two more quest memebers, Josh and Emma! As expected it didnt take them long to settle in.
Having arrived during the carnival we were thrown straight in at the deep end and got fully involved in any available water fights. Some of us are still carrying the bruises.
Our first few days in sucre revolved around spanish lessons which have been pretty intense and we have now completed 56 hours. We’ve all learnt a lot from our teachers not only spanish language but also about the Bolivian culture.
With Harry as our team leader we made our first hairy bus journey to Potosi where we had the chance to visit the mines. Ladden with gifts of coca, fizzy drinks, cigarettes and 96% alcohol we descended into the mine where we met miners that spent 18 hours a day 500m underground. Because the miners work so close to ‘hell’ it was forbidden to say the word ‘diablo’ and ther were quite few spooky staues of the devil.
We spent that afternoon in some volcanic pools where we swam in amazingly warm water covering ourselves with mud before we realised it made us seem like we had a bad fake tan!!
The next day we made our way over to Uyuni where we met our 3 truck drivers for the next couple of days. Hundereds of cheesy songs later, from Fred’s i pod, and we had made it to the salt flats where we spent out time trying to make perspective photos, one of the favoutirtes being orlando coming out of fred’s arse. We also had a chance to do some rock climbing and at one particular site, on one of the highest rocks the boys reached, there was a lot of static electricity that created some pretty funky hair styles.
Nights on the slat flats were stunning and we spent them star gazing or playing lobos, a game that tim taught us involving multiple murders and a lot of accusations.
After a tiring but exhilerating week we got back to sucre for more lessons interspersed with other activities such as salsa lessons. Some of the girls were lucky enough to be flung around the dance floor by our teacher roberto who in Matt’s words is a ‘salsa legend’!
Our treking as a team was put to the test for the first time when we spent the weekend at a country retreat. Although Orlando can play football for hours walking up a slight hill proved to be a big challenge. Overflowing waterfalls on our walk meant that Josh had to use his spiderman skills to hoist all the girls up as our 70 year old guide wasn’t up to the job!
We have spent the last week preparing for our teacher vs. student football match. We even had an evening studying the local professionals, athough we ended up spending our time fending off the hoards of kids that surrounded us.
We are off to La Paz on monday before starting our project phase, so wish us good luck!