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Entries about markets

Sucre - Day 38

Markets, Monasteries and the dancing man!

21 °C

Breakfast at Casa Verde was great, with fruit, yoghurt, juice, omelette and bacon, and we had good company too. We got talking to a lovely Australian couple called Nick and Caitlyn about our trips and gave each other advice. We also chatted to a couple from New Zealand who had been away from home for almost 2 years and had a nightmare getting into the B&B at 3.30am this morning. Their bus had got in 4 hours early, which in itself is remarkable given they don't set off on time here and the journeys are usually 25% longer than they tell you, so having nowhere else to go they came to the B&B expecting a night reception or similar. They knocked on the door but no one came, and this continued while they sat in the cold and dark hugging their belongings. They heard an American couple in the breakfast room a few hours later say "I think that's someone knocking on the door"/ "Well I'm not answering it". They were outside until around 7am when the man who ran the B&B let them in. They told him they'd been outside since 3.30am and he said "I know, the guests have been complaining about this noise". This led to a big argument, the guy saying they shouldn't have been knocking and he didnt have a room for them as they weren't supposed to be here til 7.30am, they said they didn't care about the room they just wanted to be off the street! Not a good start to their time in Sucre.

We booked our 3 day salt flats tour with Red Planet this morning, which were really looking forward to. It covers the Salar de Uyuni but also lagoons, geysers, hot springs and lots of different landscapes, and it drops us off in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. We had a look at hostels to stay at in Uyuni and San Pedro and they are both so expensive.

Andrew had discovered he'd lost his lifeadventure towel (sorry Steve & Kate!), he thinks it must have been when we did Death Road - Andrew survived it but the poor towel didn't - so we went on the hunt for a new towel. Tourist information told us to get the bus to this little village as it sold camping items, and after the short trip there we realised we weren't getting a travel towel! It was a long row of market stalls with a few that happened to sell a sleeping bag or a tent. We should have known. We decided to just get a normal towel, but Andrew being Andrew, he had to go to every towel stall and find out the price in order to make a decision. At one stall, we walked in and the man quickly glanced up then put his head down to read. We said 'ola' - a few times - 'disculpe' but nothing, he just kept his head down pretending to read, ignoring us. That's the first time someone has been rude to us on this trip, so not bad going after more than 5 weeks, but it wasn't very nice! And after all this, Andrew decides we'll look at the market in town for a towel, because the cheapest he found was the first one he looked at and it was down the other end of the village.

Back in Sucre proper, we hit the market and it is enormous. A big white building with two or three different levels housing meat, vegetables, fruit, dried food, toiletries, cleaning products, cafes and more potatoes than I've ever seen in my life! We (but Andrew particularly) love markets, you get to see all the different kinds of food a place has, what the people who live here really eat, see how they shop, eat and work. They're always a hive of activity within a town. This market has fruit juice stalls just like La Paz so we got a massive cup for about 80p.
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Andrew did have some trouble getting around it though!!!
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Today we walked the right way and found the viewpoint! It's up a steep hill (everything is up a steep hill at the moment!), which once again took our breath away, even though the altitude is a bit lower here. At the top there's a cobbled square and a monastery, and through the arches in front there is the impressive view over the pretty white buildings in the town and the mountains in the background.
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Under the arches is a cafe and we met up with Nick and Caitlyn from the B&B there for lunch and to chat more about our trips. It was a really hot afternoon and with the views it was a lovely place to spend it.
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On the way home we had some delicious biscuits from a woman with a cart on the street

Tonight we went to La Florin, a pub and restaurant we'd been recommended, and we ordered a Mexican sharer with burritos, nachos, quesadillas, dips, jalapenos, garlic bread and salad - delicious! George and Lucy came to meet us for a drink, they'd booked the Red Planet tour today too, and they told us they were thinking of going horse riding tomorrow. A few drinks later, we were going horse riding with them!

After beers, happy hour (9.30-10.30pm here) started and we ordered Mojitos and Caipirinhas, but you can't share the buy one get one free, so 8 drinks came for the four of us. Music started coming from the courtyard of the pub, which seems like a quiet little place when you arrive, so we headed out and it had turned into club with a DJ, light system, massive speakers either side of a stage, and everyone was drinking and dancing. The music was a mash up of just about every style I can think of and the place was filled with mainly students from the University and other travellers, who were dancing on the stage and standing on top of the tall speakers. However, there was one old boy, maybe in his late 70s, and everyone was trying to dance with him - maybe he was a local celebrity?! At one point, he did a forward roll to get on to the stage to dance! (That's not me dancing with him!!)
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As you can tell by the last sentence - it was a great night! And this is where we did our first Harlem Shake! Under the stars in Bolivia :)

Posted by staceywaugh 05:36 Archived in Bolivia Tagged animals markets views funny dancing monastery Comments (2)

La Paz - Day 35

Sore.

19 °C

OMG!! I'm sore! I honestly don't think my entire body as ever been in so much pain. I can barely sit down. Given this, our activities for today were limited. We booked bus tickets to Uyuni, where we'll take a 3 day tour around the salt flats and desert in Bolivia, ending in San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, and then headed out for a walk.

We went for lunch in a cafe near an old church and then to the market in La Paz, which is so different from the others we have seen. Instead of stalls, each seller has a kiosk that looks like a mini lock up garage, no matter whether they are a bookshop, drinks stand or cafe. It was also really hard to navigate as rather than have one staircase, they had a staircases in between each row of shops that zigzagged up to the top. It was certainly a popular place for lunch and with there only being space for maybe 6 people in each tiny cafe/garage, there were people crammed outside waiting to get in.
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Andrew tried a fruit smoothie for 50p that they blend fresh for you and to his delight it came in a plastic bag - he has loved drinks in bags since Thailand?!
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On the way back we saw the witches markets that had dead Llama fetuses and baby Llamas hanging from the ceilings. Apparently they bury these under their houses for good luck. I just think they're gross...
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And some buses that Andrew thinks are cool:
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Back at the hotel, the lady who booked our bus tickets informed us that there was a strike tomorrow night so we could no longer go to Uyuni on the bus tomorrow night. This was a blow as we really didn't want to spend any longer in La Paz, as there wasn't much we fancied doing. We then tried to work out whether to head to a different town for a few nights - maybe Cochabamba, Oruro or Sucre. We'd do some more research later.

Here's me ready to go out for dinner tonight in my snazzy Bolivian jumper...full shot this time!
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We met Amy and Joshua at Vertigo Biking and they'd had a Thai place recommended to them so we headed there. As soon as we'd got through the entrance of Try Thai the man at the door with the menu sign came inside - obviously getting 4 people into your restaurant is enough for one night! As it turned out he was also the waiter, and given the service, possibly the cook too?! Another two people came into the restaurant and they were at Joshua and Amy's hotel so they joined us - George was also from Australia and Lucy was from France. The restaurant had been Thai Palace before - apparently different management/owners now, despite the menus, signs and trays all saying Thai Palace on them, just expertly covered with Try Thai stickers! The menu didn't just confine itself to Thai either, you could get Japanese, Chinese and Indian too, although when the mains came out you couldn't have known which cuisine it was. We all ordered and it took forever for the food to come, the gyoza were good but the spring rolls were practically cold. The mains took even longer and then wrong dishes came out and some didn't come at all. We actually felt quite sorry for the guy at one point! Luckily we had lots of beer to keep us occupied, the music was brilliant - Coolio, Ace of Bass and the 'Land Down Under' song are particular highlights - as well as good company of course, so we just laughed and talk all the way through it.

Posted by staceywaugh 05:06 Archived in Bolivia Tagged churches markets buses llamas jumpers witches_markets Comments (0)

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