Llegamos un sábado a la mañana, sin mucha gente en el centro. Encontramos de casualidad el hotel que teníamos recomendado (Hostal de su Merced), muy lindo, muy colonial. Nos instalamos y salimos a pasear un rato. La ciudad muy distinta a lo que habíamos visto en Bolivia, muy colonial, muy limpia, las calles y veredas más anchas, más moderna, aunque es del 1800 también. Visitamos la Casa de la Libertad (donde se firmó la independencia de Bolivia). El domingo salimos temprano para el mercado de Tarabuco, un mercado indígena a 65 km de Sucre conocido por los tejidos pero también hacían sandalias de goma todas fabricadas a partir de gomas de camión encontradas en las rutas. Pero al poco tiempo de salir de la ciudad, nos encontramos con la ruta cortada por una carrera de autos. Nos bajamos un rato, hasta que liberaron el camino y pudimos pasar. Disfrutamos el mercado indígena y a la vuelta nos agarró la carrera nuevamente, asique estuvimos más de 1 hora parados otra vez. Los autos se abalanzaban para pasar primeros, creándose un caos total. El lunes visitamos el Parque Cretácico, donde tenían dinosaurios en escala natural y donde por casualidad se descubrieron huellas de dinosaurios en la montaña. Los chicos estaban felices! A la tarde L y T se fueron al cine a ver el oso Yogi, y después nos preparamos para dejar Sucre y arrancar nuestro camino a las Yungas. De camino a Potosí paramos en un castillo bastante antiguo, La Glorieta.
February 26 to 28, 2011
Arriving in Sucre after visiting other parts of Bolivia is like landing in a different country. Constructions look better (almost every house is finished including paint on the outside), streets are wide and clean and shops are modern. The main plaza is well kept and a popular spot. We even went to a supermarket, for the first time since Argentina, that was also part of a mall where we played air hockey, had lunch and went to the movies (L and T, Yogi Bear). We visited the ‘Casa de la Libertad’, a beautiful colonial building where Bolivia’s independence was declared. The highlight for M and T was the visit to a dinosaur park. Remarkably well-conserved dinosaur steps were discovered on the side of a mountain that was being dug out to make cement and life-size replicas of dinosaurs and other animals now make the Cretacic Park. Even though we were told we would never know the colors or sounds of the dinosaurs, the dinosaurs were creatively painted and the speakers throughout the park emitted loud, scary roars. We had a nice time in Sucre.
On Sunday morning we drove to the market town of Tarabuco known for its textiles but where anything can be found. On of the specialties appeared to be sandals made out entirely from broken truck tires found on the roads. A few miles after leaving Sucre we were reminded we were still in Bolivia. We hit a roadblock and found out that there was a car race (which explained the race car that T noticed zooming by us earlier) that was using a segment of the road as part of the race track. We were told by different people that it would be between 30 min and two hours before we could get by. We parked our car on the side of the road behind others and soon more cars, buses and trucks arrived. The driving lane, the opposite lane and finally the opposite side of the road were filled with cars waiting to get by. The police were busy drinking beer and paying close attention to the race. After about an hour the race was paused to let traffic go by and everyone took off at the same time causing a traffic jam. But the most interesting part came when a mile down the road cars started stopping to pay a toll (most toll booths are on the side of the road so you have to park and get out of the car to pay). We arrived amongst the first ones and E rushed towards the booth mimicking others. But by the time he was done paying dozens of other vehicles had arrived and parked again in three additional lanes taking the entire road and blocking cars that had arrived first. Luckily we managed to squeeze by and continue our way. We were shocked by the complete lack of order and police control and by the mob mentality that took over. The best would come on the way back from Tarabuco. The race was still going on and a similar situation was generated except that this time the three or four rows of vehicles coming from both sides met and the road was completely blocked. It took over 30 min for one row of vehicles to squeeze by and slowly untangle the mess. We thought argentineans were crazy drivers…
The day we were leaving we also experienced the first (very amateurish) attempt at robbery. While E was loading the car a man dressed as a hotel employee urged him to stop and insisted that he go get a receipt inside. E closed the door to the garage leaving the man outside and saw how he crossed the street and left on a car that was waiting. The hotel staff later said that there were often attempts of this sort. Nothing bad, but we are now more alert.