Thursday 29th October 2015 –
I’ve got to say, the specifics are elusive. I came to Sucre with the intention of doing Spanish lessons, and catching up with the diary and the blog, all of which have been successful to differing levels. The main thing I said to myself when I arrived was that I wouldn’t go and visit things in Sucre until I got these done, which again was successful. Nonetheless, pinpointing what I actually have done is difficult, and I’ve been here for a week and a half.
Let’s see though. Let’s give some real thought to it and see if my brain helps me out. I know I arrived on Saturday. Not the previous one, the one before that; I told you I’d been here a while. There happened to be a couple of English speaking girls in the bus (Alice and Rachel), which arrived at 9PM, who had also just done an Uyuni tour. Between us we found a taxi driver who actually knew that he was in Sucre, and on the suggestion of Lauren and Mike who I met back in Coroico, found our way to the Beehive Hostel.
What else? Sunday was naturally very lazy, but I got several of the more important tasks done, like washing, and on Monday I arranged to have Spanish lessons. Two hours a day – I’m not one of those robots that can do four. I also sewed up the top of made in my pants while horse riding. In fact, I’m tempted to go so far as to say that was the week’s crowning achievement.
While I started off really well, hours spent in cafes (good) and internet cafes (bad) writing, typing, backing up photos and generally battling Bolivian internet, productivity steadily degenerated. By the next weekend it had become a full scale landslide. There were too many people to talk to, too many interesting and often pointless discussions to have, too many games to play and too many instances of me going “Why not?”.
And why not? It was great. You really can’t go wrong with a week and a half of milling about, and this seemed to be a rather popular notion. Jimmy, Joe, Hannah, Ellie, Daphne, Brooke, Dan, Fatima and many others who I couldn’t possibly name had that exact philosophy, give or take a few hours of Spanish. The event of the day would be to get some food. Visiting something was far too much effort.
It seems to be what Sucre is best at. Providing a relaxing atmosphere, plenty of food options and lots of Spanish schools to give people an excuse to stay. Chorizo sandwiches and massive fruit salads from the market, juices from the many cafes, chocolate espressos from Para Ti and (a personal triumph) llama burgers all serve to provide the highlights without searching for them. With those, you can spend the rest of the time playing dice, chatting, eating copious amounts of jelly (Jimmy’s fault I have that addiction now) and just generally being lazy, without the guilt from not doing anything. It’s only at the end that you realise how unproductive you’ve been. But I don’t care. It’s been awesome.
Monday 2nd November 2015 –
After nigh on everyone left Hostel Beehive on Wednesday, Sucre became very quiet. Quite devastatingly quiet actually, and I think everyone was a little sad to go. I had lessons till Friday, and I was booked into the hostel till Tuesday, so even though I wasn’t sure I’d stay that long I still had time to kill. My intention was, having finally caught up with everything I had meant to, to actually explore Sucre. Beyond the centre and the market that is. Maybe go to the dinosaur park. To see Sucre really, and I did. For a couple of days.
Thursday was probably the most productive. After the usual 8:30-10:30 Spanish lesson, I headed off to explore, or just visit some of the museums I had neglected. First up, after stocking up on a market made chorizo sandwich, the Museo de Ethnographia y Folklore. This was free, so I shouldn’t be too harsh, but if I’m honest it wasn’t great. Supposedly housing many interesting displays, there was actually nothing good aside from a collection of traditional masks used by different cultural groups in Bolivia for festivities. Most of the rest of the museum was closed. Awesome.
After a pit stop for some ice cream (totally necessary, I assure you!) I trudged over to the San Felipe Neri church. The views from here stretch over Sucre and really are marvellous, but the stonework itself is really lovely too. You can also go all the way to the top of the bell towers.
After this, the Museo de Arte Indigena called. It’s essentially a large selection of pottery from different groups of Bolivia’s past, along with a few traditional weapons and tools. It does though, house several rather gruesome mummified bodies, most shockingly one of mother and child curled together in foetal position.
The Recoleta (up at the top of the hill) was the last stop of the day, to see the views with Brooke and few of the new guys who had arrived earlier, including Will and Hailton. You’ve got to make new friends!
Come friday morning was the knowledge I would have my final Spanish lesson, and that was quite sad too. I’d been chatting with Abi, my teacher, about random things for two weeks now. In and amongst learning verbs and tenses of course. I felt we’d become friends in this time, so yet another goodbye was in order, complete with awkward pictures. Life in Sucre really was coming to an end. I’d made sure I made special effort with my homework.
Productivity didn’t end there though. I visited the cemetery, an attraction if only to see the odd, pigeon hole like graves everywhere. It was full of people visiting, maintaining the graves and paying their respects, despite Los Dias de La Muertes not being for another two days. There were far more people than I’ve ever seen in a graveyard in the UK – even just looking at the state of the flowers showed the cultural importance here.
Tired and hot I arrived back in the hostel, but I was commandeered to play football. This is where it all went wrong. Up on a pitch at the top of the hill, my mad skills (read: horrendous ball control) and immense fitness (read: ability to huff and puff more than a smoker) saw me running like a madman. I thought I’d created a hole in my socks, or maybe gouged out my shoe. I hadn’t. The hole was in my foot – a lovely split blister extending over the big toe. Productivity ceased.