Potosi and Sucre
i haven’t posted in awhile about my travels….
after the salar de uyuni tour, I was so toured out — all I wanted to do was sit and read and wander and drink coffee and NOT ride in a jeep, going from sight to sight. So — that is pretty much what I have done for the past week. I spent four days each in Potosi and Sucre, two cities in SW Bolivia.
Potosi is an old mining town — they have been mining the main mountain, Cerro Rico, for about 500 years — mostly silver. The city sits at close to 4000m and has a working town feel to it. Sucre is a university town, much lower in elevation (I think around 2600m), and feels young and vibrant. It was definitely a contrasting experience being in both places. My friend Stephanie said that Potosi is like the old man who has fallen from wealth, but still dresses the part and Sucre is the young, new money.
Here are my highlights (and lowlights):
- eating ranga stew in the market with the locals, which was mostly good other than texture. We looked it up later, only to find out that ranga is intestine…
- heading out for a hike up Cerro Rico but instead finding a futbol game with the mining cooperative teams. we were the only gringas in the crowd, solicited a lot of stares and were invited to drink beers with some very drunk miners. This was on a sunday, their one day off a week
- buying wine at one of the convents in town — in which you ring a bell, put your money on the lazy susan, and around comes your wine (which was pretty much overly sweet grape juice)
- Drinking said wine on a church mirador (look out) overlooking the city
- being stuck in town for a city-wide protest — no transportation in/out — which pretty much felt like a party in town with people walking the streets
- staying in a gross, gross hostel and getting thrown-up on (well, being on the lower bunk when dude threw up on the upper bunk) — definitely the lowest-of-the-low of my hostel experiences….. (and no, it did not get on me but still…… I feel REALLY over 20-somethings and their partying)
- Sucre is a beautiful, very livable city, full of white-washed churches, buildings and houses
- Students of all ages everywhere! Young, trendy, hip vibe to the city
- Visiting an indigenous art museum – highlighting the textiles made by all the different indigenous groups in Bolivia (if you are like me, you did not realize there are some many different indigenous groups living in Bolivia still)
- the faux-hawk is alive and well in Bolivia
- Running in the park — always my favorite thing to do in a city/country. Running with (ok, having them run by me) futbol players, college and high school students, moms, and seeing other folks exercising in the early morning
- staying in yet another gross, dirty hostel (though I opted for my own room in said gross hostel) and being woken up at 3 in the morning (and again at 4 or later) by drunk 20-somethings partying on a friday night
- Visiting the park in the afternoon – it is THE place to be for families and teenagers. Fooz-ball tables, popcorn, ice-cream, bikes you can rent, little motorized cars for kids to ride in, a guy in his car pulling a train around the park for the little kids, bouncy-houses. you name it – it was there.
- eating avocados for days (seriously, can you get sick if you eat that many avocados?) The ladies in the market had so many, and so good, and so affordable (if that is all you are eating).
It was a good week – and I accomplished what I wanted (no set agenda, coffee shop time, reading, sitting, wandering, running). Last night I took a 11 hour overnight bus to La Paz, where I am now, and treated myself to a fancy hostel (they have a midnight curfew! that means no drunk brits shouting at the top of their lungs as they flirt with each other. no offense to my british friends) that is clean and nice and the bathrooms aren’t scary and the kitchen is clean and useable and I have my own room – and, of course, a bit more expensive. But, I will write more about La Paz as I get to know it.
For now, sending my love from 3660m! 🙂