Sucre

Leaving Sucre was like waking up from a dream… a good dream. Sliding into a city lifestyle was easier than I thought. Bars, restaurants, concerts and all that fun. I enjoyed it, I had a real social life for the first time during the trip. So different from the solitude of cycling. I met so many great people and did so many things that the month I spent there flew by in no time. Spanish classes, charango classes and even salsa dancing classes were my new routine. In between these – beer and a lot of it. Sucre is known from its colonial architecture and… Spanish schools. Many tourists decide to stay here to improve their language skills. There’s a language school virtually on every corner. The result of it is that the town is full of travellers and there’s no shortage of good company. For that reason I liked to call Sucre ‘gringo town’ with a lot of ‘gringo bars’. Seriously, if you were teleported to one of these places and had to make a guess which country you’re in, Bolivia wouldn’t be anywhere close to the top of the list. The clientele is predominantly from western countries and English is the first language spoken. Many of these locals are owned by westerners as well. But not all places are like that and I was lucky enough to become friends with some locals and experiencing the other side of the town. The truth is, unfortunately, that the gringo and Bolivian worlds stay to a great extent separate. Both sides blame each other. ‘The gringos don’t want to interact’ and ‘Bolivians are just unfriendly and keep their distance’. The truth, as usual, is somewhere in the middle. The bottom line is that Sucre is not representative to Bolivia and you can easily spent weeks here without uttering a single Spanish word. After a month of excessive partying it was time to go and I convinced Dave, my cycling buddy from few months ago who got stuck in Sucre for 3 months to go with me. I didn’t expect him to agree, but luckily he felt it was time to go too. Our departure was delayed by few days. I wanted to upgrade my bicycle and mount some sort of front panniers to be able to carry extra food for the deserted lagunas region in south west. Since getting a front rack in Bolivia is almost impossible I knew I would have to improvise something. I met this Argentinian cyclist few months ago who had his panniers made out of plastic canisters, so I went to a market and got two of those. So far so good, now I only needed to attach them to my front fork somehow. I visited five or six metal workshops to get some help, but these guys were just not helpful, they were either sending me to bicycle shops, saying they had no tools, materials or that they were too busy. Well, if there’s one person in the world you can count on it’s yourself, and so I went to a metal shop, looked what they had and bought 3 euro worth of nuts and bolts and some other metal parts that looked as if they could do the job. I went back home and the fun began. Two days later I had the containers fixed to the fork, but will they last or will they just fall apart on the first corner. I wasn’t sure. Only the time will tell. Then a day before planned departure I went for an open air concert of Bolivian folk music. I was so hungry I got food from 4 different stalls. Big mistake, it’s like playing russian roulette with four bullets in the chamber. And surely most of the next day I spent in toilet directing either the upper or the lower end of my digestive system towards the big white phone. But finally we left. Sucre is a small town and in no time we were out in the road leading to Potosi. Mountains around, the road, two bicycles. It felt so familiar, that I was really not sure if the Sucre episode wasn’t just a dream…. a good dream.

The photo part of this post is different. I didn’t pull out my camera that often, so expect some randomness and blurriness which are the predominant qualities of my experiences in Sucre :).

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Shisha Lounge Cafe, where gringos and Bolivians meet :)

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La Flor Del Paradiso… in our garden!

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Flatmates!

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Cajon peruano and guitar a perfect combination.

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‘The white city’ has its name for a reason

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Paul and his creation.

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Blurrrrrrrrry

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Our pet

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A miracle of engineering, it’s time to go

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"Life is like a 21 speed bicycle-most of us have gears we never use"