Without being too generic, it really is hard to believe that today should be our last day in Sucre. I would put special emphasis on the word ‘should’ however, as, despite our aims to leave the city, our actual destination beyond this is still yet to be decided. The reason for such uncertainty is the slightly inconvenient timing of some mining strikes which seem to be determined to prevent us from leaving Sucre. Anyway what we can be pretty certain of is that from here on out, internet will come increasingly harder to come by, hence the hasty blog entry…
Since our last blog entry our time in Sucre has certainly continued to be eventful. On Tuesday, we spent the afternoon helping out at a nursery, where, having taken the theme of the jungle very seriously by dressing up as a variety of animals from the rainforest, we realised just before entering how terrifying we must have looked to these poor 3 year olds. However, luckily after making lots of animal noises and generally a fool of ourselves, we soon won their trust, and found ourselves being taken by the hand and pulled in various directions to sing, draw and have a snack. This all in all, made the experience a very positive one, and we were sad to leave at the end of the school day.
Luckily on Wednesday night, we had the opportunity to continue integrating with Bolivian education by inquiring after the appearance of an intriguing long queue of students, who for once weren’t on strike and were actually queuing for a university concert in Sucre. Never wanting to miss a trick and ever with the hope of blending in with the locals, the following night, you would have easily been able to spot us as the only white, and even in parts sunburned, non-university students that eagerly waited in line to see a variety of bands including, the one and only Chi’la Jatun (whose music we heard for the first time on a befriended Bolivian’s phone just minutes before the concert began and are apparently a big thing). After queuing for an hour, it was actually our ‘gringoness’ which gave us the disguise we needed to pass as exchange students in order to join the 7,000 strong audience that anxiously anticipated the arrival of the bands for a further two hours (very much still in Bolivian time). Despite the fact that we had no idea what was going on, we felt we played the part of fanatic fans well enough to not be discovered as the real people who shouldn’t have been there, in comparison to the students who had to climb over this walls to enter. However it does still remain to be seen if we will be discovered by the television footage..,
Though this experience was pretty hard to beat, the rest of the week still had its adventures. One of which would certainly have to be our decision to go biking on Saturday; an activity which our guide assured us would be a leisurely way to spend our weekend. Four hours later, having truly experienced Bolivia’s state of road maintenance which resulted in three flat tyres later, blistered hands and very sore bums, it was then that it became clear the leisure didn’t start until the bike ride had finished. Nonetheless it was certainly a great experience, which was made even more worth it by the site of Matty riding a bright pink bike, which could have well belonged to one of the girls we met at the nursery on Tuesday.
Another experience this week has also been the food, as having let our stomachs settle in the first week, we became more adventurous with what we were eating. This even meant going as far as market food, which though I don’t have a bad word to say about, I unfortunately equally can’t write much about as to this day many of the ingredients remain unidentified! We also had a very nice evening at a traditional Bolivian cultural evening of dance, where we were completely torn as to whether we should be looking at our food or the spectacle of dancers. Considering the importance we designate to food during this trip, this in itself is testimony to the talent of the dancers!
I also can’t finish the blog without mentioning our trip to the famous market of Tarabuco on Sunday which bombarded us with everything, though our interest really lay in the jumpers and jewellery. Though Matty will undoubtedly disagree, I personally find it a miracle that we only returned with one llama jumper each and know, had it not been such a hot day, that I would have returned with many more.
All in all, Sucre has been the perfect place to start our trip. The relaxed and safe nature of the city has allowed us to establish and practice our newly acquired Spanish and given us a unique insight into Bolivian culture. That said, we never felt too far away from home with the help of Abis cafe and it’s brownies and American breakfasts, which among many other things, are sure to be missed. Despite this, we are of course, all looking forward to the next adventures, that is if we ever do make it out of Sucre!