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Sucre and Santa Cruz de la Sierra

La Paz leftover: the bowler hats on Andean women were fascinating. We’ve read how they were introduced, but are curious as to whether they’re invariably undersized by necessity or by fashion. Anyone know?

Not much to report since, because there’s been too much to report. Our Aerosur flight to Sucre was fine and came with a free ham, cheese, and frozen butter sandwich. Our stay in a fantastic location (and rather cold, unheated rooms) in Sucre, though, was enlivened by loud protests involving dynamite–said to be normal–in the main plaza a block away. These particular protests were tied to the unrest in Potosí, a 3 hour bus ride away. We’d hoped to visit it, but it’s been blockaded by locals for over two weeks now, and dozens of tourists remain trapped. Even if we could have gotten to Potosí, it seemed prudent to pass it up. With the protests in Sucre, rumors of possible roadblocks there, and not much to see with the time we’d planned to see Potosí, we decided to move up our Aerosur tickets to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, our final stop in Bolivia, for a princely 60 Bs (less than $10).

Meanwhile, Sucre is a lovely white colonial city. It’s officially the capital of Bolivia (La Paz, we learned, having taken the executive and legislative branches in a civil war). We saw some great museum exhibits on local indigenous textiles as well as the Casa de la Libertad, full of patriotic memorabilia from Bolivia’s declaration of independence.

Our flight from Sucre to Santa Cruz took 35 minutes, and replaces a “15-20” hour bus ride per the guidebooks. Worth $60 or so, we thought. Santa Cruz is noticeably more prosperous and tropical than anywhere else we’ve seen in Bolivia, and we’re staying in a (relatively) nice hotel where we got a suite for a song. Our favorite part is probably the jacuzzi in the middle of the room: unfortunately, normal sized people can’t quite fit inside. But the shower’s hot and the room’s comfortable.

Unfortunately, I’ve been spending a lot of time in it — I got sick during our first night here, and I’ve spent most of the rest of the time in the room waiting for it to pass. We were thinking of taking a daytrip to one of the Jesuit missions or to a nearby town, either a bit toward the forests, but I haven’t been well long enough for us to be confident in putting down a deposit. Dana’s been checking out the Cruzan cinema and grocery stores while I debate the merits of the white bread roll and the cracker, my new staple foods. To give an idea of how embarrassingly little these cost here, a package (a day or two’s worth) of crackers goes for 2 Bs.

Tomorrow’s our last full day in Sta. Cruz. Hopefully I’ll be able to get out and about and see some of the sights — thanks to ornery museum schedules, tomorrow will be our first and last opportunity for some. The next day, we have a 4:40 a.m. flight: the first in a series that should get us to Rio by midday Monday if all goes well.

As usual, I’m being very slow about posting pictures. Maybe we’ll get some uploaded tomorrow.

One Comment

  1. What’s your elevation in Bolivia? At 8 or 9,000 feet in Xela, I completely understand feeling winded just by walking down the street. It’s too bad you had to miss out on Potosi, but you most certainly made the right decision. A rock through your bus window or barricades would hardly make for an enjoyable vacation. Better to enjoy the more hospitable parts as you can. Get well, but in the meantime use your downtime to post some pictures!

    Posted on 16-Aug-10 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

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