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Published: October 8th 2011
We arrived in Sucre and checked in Gringo´s Rincon hostel. It was run by a crazy crazy german called Mike. He insisted on showing us around his hostel so we could see which room we would like to pick. The first room he opened was a big 8 bed dorm, to which Mike said "This is an 8 bed dorm". We walked upstairs and he opened another door which was another 8 bed dorm, to which Mike said again "This is an 8 bed dorm". We moved on and he opened a door to a room with 4 beds in it. Feeling that i had a firm grip of what was going on here i said to Mike "...and this is the 4 bed dorm". Mike turned to me, scoffed loudly and quiped "Well obviously!" and promptly walked out! I felt like i belonged in nursery school.
When we moved into our room (the 4 bed dorm) our other 2 roommates were sat on their beds with their laptops and headphones in. They didn´t even attempt to feint any reciprocity whatsoever and the bloke on the bottom bunk freaked us both out because he would just star
at you out of the corner of his shifty little eyes. He also had a ponytail...bloody wierdo.
We left the hostel immediately for some food and headed to a cafe that had advertised real full english breakfasts. Ironically it was a Dutch cafe. After scoffing our breakfasts, which were O.K. but lacked black pudding, we had a wander around town to just take the place in. We passed a chocolatier and i was inevitably dragged in by Hayley. Then, after scoffing our chocolates, we continued walking and came across a truck with a model dinosaur´s head attached to the top of it and the name ´Dino-Truck´emblazoned across it. Sadly, this was not some cabbie having a laugh but was in fact the truck that delivered tourists to the dinosaur park just outside of town. The dinosaur park boasts the largest collection of dinosaur prints in the world! We had planned to visit the footprints at some point and decided to do it then and there. However, we did not ride on the Dino-Truck because it was much more expensive than getting local transport. So instead we piled into a local minivan that cost around a 20th of the price,
and was much more exciting due to the driver´s seemingly passionate desire to kill himself and everyone in the van by driving top speed through congested traffic.
Upon arriving at the dinosaur park we paid the entrance fee of around 30BOB (3 quid) and were ready to set off when the lady spotted out camera and explained that we would have to pay an extra 5BOB for the pleasure of taking photos...typical Bolivian logic. Why not just include it in the bloody entrance fee?!?
We were greeted by our guide who spoke good English but whose bodily mannerisms, over the top excitement and wierd American/Bolivian accent gave across an impression of mental illness. We first learnt that the area had been the shores of a pre-historic lake that the dinosaurs had visited to drink from. Then as time passed and sediments settled in the footprints they were fossilised and preserved. The flat shores of the lake were then pushed from beneath by seismic activity that resulted in the shores being pushed 90 degrees onto a vertical plan. Millions of years later a cement company had turned the area into a limestone quarry and came across a layer of
magnesium oxide, which halted excavations because magnesium oxide is unuseable in cement making processes. Weather erosion gradually washed away the layer of magnesium oxide and exposed the footprints. So it was really very lucky that the footprints had not been simply dug up and lost forever! However, don´t think that these very special dinosaur footprints, millions of years old, that offer a unique insight into what dinosaurs existed and their living habits would mean that the area would be protected as a world heritage sight and preserved for future generations...oh no, not in Bolivia. The cement company have merely excavated around the footprints, and their continued mining has resulted in a number fo landslides that have wiped out some of the footprints....Bolivian logic, can´t bloody beat it!
After trying to see the footprints from a rather large distance away, i thought they were rubbish (i´m not going to smack you in the face and tell you it´s a kiss) and instead i amused myself by giggleing at the rather graphically sculpted assholes of the giant dinosaur sculptures. Next we were herded into a dark room where the guide stuck an episode of the 1998 series ´Walking with dinosaurs, whose CGI graphics seemed as old as the dinosaurs themselves, and that was the end of the tour! We headed back home in another minivan and, after getting dropped off in the town center, headed to a nice little french patisserie shop and gorged on some nice cakes. Nom nom nom.
We wasted a couple of hours back at the hostel doing jack squat and then headed to a nice little french restaurant where we stuffed our faces some more on some lovely food!!
We didn´t have much to do today since we had already done the dinosaur park the previous day so we just milled around in the hostel for the morning. At lunch we met up with our favorite stalkers Laura and Chris for a surprisingly nice chinese. Afterwards, we walked up a bloody big hill to the recoleta square which had nice views over the town. We stopped off at a cafe and had a hot chocolate each, which were the nicest hot chocolates EVER!! I practically had to spoon out the chocolate it was so thick! On the way down back to town i stopped to buy another 3 bracelets (it´s become a slight addiction now and at the time of writing i have 10...on one arm. I was originally aiming for 1 for each week we were away, but i think i´m gonna exceed my quota).
That evening we got a taxi to the bus terminal with our Danish mates Ketcha and Christina. We dropped our bags off in the bus company´s office and then went outside to wait to board the bus. At which point ialmost had my bag dropped off ontop of me! (They lowered the bags via a rope and hook from the 1st storey office balcony that overhangs the waiting area).
The bus journey was...a bloody nightmare in short. As soon as we got on the move the driver stuck on a terrible quality pirate dvd at maximum volume. He then proceeded to play his own panpipe music at maximum volume...it was fucking craziness. However, none of the locals seemed fazed, they seem to adore noise in this bloody country...there is no other way of describing it. I saw on a tv programme about the SAS´s tactic of using noise as a form of torture. They would play whitenoise constantly to prisoners whilst they struck uncomfortable poses. Seriously, Bolivians would probably start having a fucking siesta if they were tortured by the SAS. They would probably start humming along and clicking their fingers to the ear deafening, screeching white noise.
What is more, the bus´ door did not close fully so the overnight bus soon became a freezer on wheels. Due to my uncontrollable shivering i felt like i was on the summit of Everest rather than a bus and got absolutely no sleep. We arrived in La Paz cold, tired and extremely grumpy, they must have seen us coming and muttered under their breath "bloody Brits always moody!".
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