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Published: March 12th 2016
FACES OF BOLIVIA.
Entering La Paz was like an earthquake zone.
T'was tough enough crossing a river in the morning in a bouncing boat like a seed pod in a violent swell...faces of the other passengers grimacing as we were tossed about...our bus on a tin barge lurching nearby...hoping it does not sink...as our gear will sink with it.
Then Denise's camera stopped working. My camera gave out in Peru. Ain't no way I'll succumb to hari kari...I'll get Den's to work somehow...gotta be condensation I reckon.
As we approached La Paz in the late afternoon, so did all the traffic in Bolivia...peak hour into an earthquake zone. Miles and miles and miles of buildings in the course of construction...boxes of bricks in all stages of unfinish or disrepair...traffic choking. What a grotty city!
Then great views over the most rooves I've ever seen...then down, down, down...dropped off in a traffic jam of vehicles and masses of people...no room to swing a cat yet alone swing our bags. How the hell will we get to our hotel?
But get to our hotel we did...great room, great views of mountains...hair
drying the cameras. Den's camera saying OK Buster I'm back, but my camera still refusing to focus...Den's iphone laughing at my distress.
Some people say if the planets align some things are meant to be.
In La Paz Denise checked out this book on the power of colours and birthdates lying between llama steaks and Colombian berry liquor, and looked up my birth date...day, month and year.
My compatability birthday was just one...Denise's birth date!!!
And Denise's birth date had mine...and one other!
I knew she was the only girl for me...but her's had two.
I look down at the man in a full face balaclava...who is cleaning nay scrubbing my shoe.
Booked a Private Tour of Bolivia from Oz.
Did this in Java..."Want to climb Kratatoa, Ijen and Bromo...Christmas Day at Borobodur...what can you do for us?" Fan...tastic!
For Bolivia we asked for "Off the beaten track in the Salar, not the usual tours, more days and climbing a volcano somewhere...entering Chile through the back door to Atacama Desert."
This is to be the end of a 10 week trip...looking to
go out with a bang...not an Orwellian whimper.
So they told us they'd collect us in Sucre.
The flight from La Paz in a tiny plane winding through mountains was spectacular.
Always thought Sucre was sugar...white sugar as the buildings are predominately painted white...but it's named after an indigenous man who led the revolt against the Spanish that led to Independence for Bolivia in 1825...Antonio Jose de Sucre.
Our guide Gonzales is an indigenous man with a Degree in Guiding and in his last year of Law. Imagine his surprise when I filled out a form and for profession wrote "Abogado!"
Reckon we can pick his brains on human rights...and the foxtrot that is Catholicism and Pachamama.
Our private tour has begun and the colonial style Samary Hotel sets the tone of what is to come.
A courtyard with a fountain and small lawn outside our bedroom window...upstairs with a bread oven, an old church, aisles of pillars, views over terracotta rooves to the mountains beyond.
Gonzales tells us what it was like to be indigenous under Spanish rule.
To a time when Andean families could lose a loved
one...for disobeying their masters the eldest daughter would disappear never to be seen again...stories of this happening to his family...pain of their past...heartache that tears his family still.
I rest my hand on the knee of the statue of the founding father in the Supreme Court of Justice...hallowed halls where Bolivians see judgments done. I introduce myself as an Abogado from Oz.
And though I come from across the Pacific Ocean and am not in a suit...they welcome me...and make me feel right at home.
My beef with Roquefort cheese sauce and Denise's caramelised Argentinian beef in whiskey at La Taverne washed down with Aranjuez Tannat red wine was our best meal in Bolivia. Then I saw it...rose and approached the next table...reaching for the icecream crepe dish as I say "I want that"...the seven Austrians rising as one. "How are the kangaroos?" I ask."How is the skiing?" they ask, shielding the icecream crepe with a laugh from my grasp.
A beatbox booms as we cross the main park...street lights catching whirring colours that draw us in. About a dozen young men in rap dance duels...spinning on their shoulders like tops...somersaulting and twisting contortions...heads
of hair brushing the polished stone floor...we in awe none crashed and burned...young girls admiring...swooning in their skill.
Another day a display of masks...our skin tingling...eyes expanding...jaws dropping...chocolates and more chocolates rewarding our delight.
Another night a cultural dinner show...a frenetic display...dancing...men stamping...women swirling...all the festivals from the cities and provinces of Bolivia in one.
The colour and energy of Sucre catches the light each night and day...walking the cobbled streets taking it all in...a city of friendliness in brilliant array.
Relax & Enjoy,
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