Thursday, August 11, 2011

sweet sucre

well firstly - sweet in spanish is dulce, but somehow sweet sucre has a true ring to it nonetheless. Indeed it was, for the most part.  Sucre was home for about a month - a beautiful city to stop in, with its big Mercado Central full of fresh juices, smoothies, spices, unrefridgerated meats, soy milk, dedicated banana, cakes, chorizo, potato and bread sections, and what else? - the amazing temperate climate (middle of winter = blue sunny days of skirts and t-shirts and mild nights), a great group of friends, regular bars to hang out in and a relaxing hostel. Sounds like paradise no?

Well it sort of was, and sort of wasn't. For some reason pretty much everyone we knew who came though there got some sort of stomach bug - we think it's from the water somehow, even though we were generally drinking filtered water. But suffice to say that we all had these sort of weird 24 hour bugs that reoccured every couple of days/each week, and now after 6 days on the road I've been totally fine. Lets just say we had numerous conversations and theories about our bathroom habits...But enough about bodily functions...:)

Sucre was also where I went to school - it was about bloody time, and I'm proud to day that since leaving I've done absolutely ZILCH except for struggle to rememer some  of the verb conjugations while riding. That's not completely true - my Spanish has improved a lot, and I've expanded my vocabularly as well, but just not putting in the effort to study and practice every day. Again - why don't I speak more with other travellers and people I meet? Is it just pure lazieness or a fear that we won't be able to communicate? I think back to a German couple that I met in the Eco Yoga Park - they were speaking Spanish together and I think it really was impressive that they forwent their native tongue in order to practice with eachother. Respect.

Somehow the time passed in Sucre - between classes, endless visits to motorcycle shops for parts, getting rabies vaccination, visiting the bathroom and getting over the tiredness from learning (by golly it's hard) the time seemed to pass very quickly.

Part of this perhaps was the hostal - it was a great setup complete with colourful hammocks, a sometimes chaotic shared kitchen, vibrant bouganvillia, lush jasmine and a plethora of travellers (mostly French) and also other motorcyclists/car travellers. Also the family had great pride in keeping the hostal ship shape - with particular focus on the kitchen. Often the grandmother and Martin, the young boy who did pretty much every job including letting in partying travellers at 4am a bit bearly eyed, would start preparing their family meal at lunchtime, discussing daily topics and talking to the travellers while chopping and peeling and stirring. Tina was the main girl who did the cleaning - she was a bio chemistry uni student, that spent 6 mornings a week (including public holidays) cleaning rooms. Often she would eat alone in the kitchen - I asked her once why she ate alone and not with the family, and she said she preferred it. Didn't want to prod but perhaps it really was more relaxing in the kitchen.

I'm forgetting to tell you all about the foray into the Jungle - we decided to split up the study and go with Mark and Bridget to the jungle - Las Yungas - north east La Paz on a rafting trip. It was fun - actually pretty relaxing and I definitely had my fill of wading through canyons and wet feet. I actually wrote up my trip in Spanish, so I'm going to put this here....some of it is a bit of a repeat from the La Paz post...

Salimos del hostal a las 7 en la noche y cuando estuvimos comprando los boletas dicidimos a cambiar a una cama silla. Era mas comodo de una semi cama porque podimos domir mas y nos relajamos durante del viaje. Lllegamos en La Paz a las 7.30 en la proxima manana. La mas impressionanta vista fue cuando estuvimos llegando. Verlo de muchas direcciones; de un dirrecion una cresta de cosas naranja con ventas brilliantes, en la otra dirrecion montanas majesticas con nieve.

Despues cuando dejemos nuestras equipaje en el hotel, caminaba en el calle principal y jugabab con algunas ninas con una cuede. Vimos "Harry Potter" - en 3D! y comimos comida Japones por la primera vez en Sudamerika. Encontremos nuestros amigos de Australia - Mark, y Luke tambien.

Las primeras dias en la selva acampamos al lado una rio verde. Hablaba mucho con las personas en nuestros grupo, y aprediamos sobre cada persona. Cada manana mientras nos levatabamos las guias preparaban desayuno. Porque hubo muchas Isralis, normalmente la comida fue una mescla de comida Boliviano y comida Israli. Por ejemplo por la primer desasuno comiamos "shakshuka" - era huevos, tomate, cebolla y muchas comino. Los sitios para camping eran lindo, pero que lastima fue habia basura. En mi pais, Australia, la gente es muy conciente sobre de medioambiente. Muchas veces en Sudamerika veia basura en los senderos y caminos mientras estaba trekking y sentia pena. Normalmete los extranjeros no tirabamos basura pero en nuestro groupo, ellos hacieron Es una locura,

La proxima manana haciamos una balsa de neumaticos y madera de la selva. En las proximas dias navegamos el rio verde y cada noche acampabamos al lado del rio. Tres veces visitamos canones; caminamos en el rio hasta el punto cuando no podiamos caminar mas! Ademas nadamos! Siempre hemos estado mojados cada tarde. Ademas 5 dias en la selva, regresamos a La Paz. Estuvo muy contendo y feliz por salir la selva y volver hacia las montanas altura! Pero traje 68 regallos (bichos!) con migo a La Paz:)

So... Sucre was a mixed blessing - a wonderful place to relax but by the end our feet were itching to hit the road again... that's the way travel goes I suppose! A wonderful end to our stay there was celebrating my birthday, and then the Bolivian independence day on the 6 August. A celebratory end to a celebratory stay.

Now off to Samaipata, Santa Cruz and down into the lower elevations before heading to Peru to meet mum and dad in October. More jungle time on the near horizon!

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