So, I have just celebrated my sixth week in Bolivia’s capital, Sucre. You may ask why I have spent 6 weeks in the same place when there is so much more to see in this incredible continent. The answer is simple. Its comfy and a hell of a lot of fun. The hostel I am ‘living’ at (Wasi Masi) is a magnet for social behavior and I have been lucky enough to meet some amazing people. I had originally decided to stay here for a month while I took Spanish classes, but I just could n’t bare to leave this city and my Sucre crew. Another reason for my prolonged stay is the same reason what keeps all good guys in a place for longer than they anticipated. A great girl!! Sucre has become one of my favourite places in Latin America, possibly the world!
Caspar, Me, Arnaud
During my time here I have attended a rock concert with one of Mexico’s biggest bands, ‘Molotov’. I have been to watch the local football team, ‘Universitario’ smash one of the best teams in Bolivia, ‘The strongest’. I gate crashed a Bolivian student party with my fellow Sucre crew members. I risked my life watching the annual Sucre street race. I spent an incredible day with awesome people visiting the 7 waterfalls site. And just yesterday I randomly saw Bolivian president Evo Morales giving a speech in the main Plaza. All this mixed with some incredible party nights in my favourite haunts ‘Cafe Florin’ and ‘Mitos’ and the generally awesome weather has made it near on impossible for me to leave.
The Sucre Crew
Caspar: Caspar is probably my best mate here in Sucre. He is a fellow long termer and has just celebrated his 5th week here. He is from the German speaking part of Switzerland. We have shared many a good times and he can always make me laugh with his Borat style accent.
Arnaud: Arnaud is French. He has been in Sucre for a month. Together with Caspar and myself we form the 3 amigos. He had planned to buy a bicycle here in Sucre and cycle down to Ushuaïa. But he has been another victim of Sucre’s charm and just can’t leave.
German Mike: German Mike owns a popular hostel here in Sucre. I met him at the bar in Florin. I would meet him here at the same place every night. He closed his hostel for renovations 6 months ago. He was having too much fun partying to re open it. He is a really cool guy and even though he is fluent in Spanish, he still sounds extremely German when he speaks the language.
English Dave: I also met English Dave in Cafe Florin. He was cycling around South America. He arrived in Sucre a few months ago with a shoulder injury and has been here since. He has recently missed his flight back home to the Uk. He can be found trying to improve his moves in the many places here giving Salsa lessons. He introduced me to Marion.
Taso: Taso is from Toronto, Canada. He spent just over 2 weeks here in Sucre, while he partied and learnt Spanish. If it was n’t for his smooth intervention I may not of ended up getting to know Marion.
Nick & Stav: Two really cool American guys who got the whole Wasi Masi crew going. They were here for 2 weeks volunteering at the hostel. On the first night they organised a really nice bbq, and it was here I met Caspar.
Josh: Another fellow Englishman and long termer. Josh has been studying Spanish here for a month. He cooked me an awesome English roast one night and my stomach still craves another!
Dara: I met Dara on my first day here in Sucre while watching England vs Montenegro in Florin. He’s from Ireland and I still remember one of the first things he said to me. “I hope England qualify, because then I have 31 other teams to support in the world cup”. He lives here and has a Bolivian girlfriend and daughter. He his currently opening a hostel here.
Anton: Anton is a musician from London. He has been travelling for 3 years with his German girlfriend. He was in Sucre for 2 months while he wrote and recorded new music. I met him on my first day here in Florin watching the England game.
One of Mexico’s most famous rock bands were headlining a ‘free’ concert in the city. I use the term ‘free’ loosely because it was n’t entirely the case. You had to exchange a child’s toy for a ticket wrist band. Apparently the toys would be given out to under privileged children at Christmas. I have my doubts though, this is Bolivia after all! I decided to buy a pretty cool illuminating yo-yo. However once I arrived at the ticket exchange I was told “No, Mas Grande”. In other words my toy was not thought to be a big enough gesture. Obviously there was a stall right outside selling bigger gifts at inflated prices. I decided to purchase a rather cheap and tacky plastic football. Strangely this was acceptable to the ticket dispenser and I was granted my wrist band.
The concert was outdoor. The weather had taken a turn for the worse and the night was a bit chilly. The music was n’t really my cup of tea. It was quite heavy rock but I still enjoyed seeing the locals jump around and go literally crazy to every song Molotov played.
The Football Game
A few of us from the hostel went to watch the local team play. Universitario were the under dogs to La Paz’s The Strongest. When we entered the stadium we opted for the safe seats on the corner. Here is where families sat and chatted through out the game. It lacked atmosphere and I was quite jealous of all the people stood in the hardcore end behind the goal, jumping and cheering at every opportunity. Luckily Cesar who worked in the hostel arrived and suggested we should move up with the real fans. This was quite an experience, there was a band, fire crackers and huge banner the completely covered all of us and even a local dog who had come to cheer on his team.
Under the huge banner
The game finished 4-2 to Universitario and was full of incidents. There were 2 penalties, a red card and one of the funniest incidents I have witnessed ever at a football match. The opposition goalkeeper assaulted the ball boy because he would not throw back the ball. He slapped him then kicked him in the nuts. This stopped the game for some 10 minutes while players, coaching staff and club officials all clashed with one another. The standard of the football was poor at best and the only similar standard I can relate it to is that of Portsmouth FC.
Universitario vs The Strongest
The Student Party
I was walking through the main Plaza one evening when I came across a noisy drunken street parade. It was a huge group of students, playing instruments and dressed up in fancy dress. They were celebrating the end of term and marching the street before their big party. We asked where the party was, and then rounded up a few other gringos and later crashed the party.
The party was in a massive hall and was completely packed full of drunken students. There was a dj playing the standard cheesy commercial dance music that every other bar plays in Bolivia. But it was good fun. The funniest moment was when a group of about 10 Bolivian guys were battling for the attention of 3 of the girls that were part of our group. They surrounded them like a pack of hungry Hyenas, all trying to delivering their best chat up lines pushing each other out of the way in the process. I would like to say they had some success, but I guess a drunk group of young skinny Bolivian boys just did not appeal to the girls.
The Street Race
This has been a real highlight of my stay here. Caspar, Arnaud and myself were walking back from our favourite hangover recovery place, Cafe Mirrador when we came across closed streets and a big police presence. We were told by an officer that there was a street race and we were actually at the finish line and the cars were due anytime. Of course we had to stick around and see it. It can only be best described as treacherous. In any western country there would be tough safety measures in place. Barriers, marshals and paramedics would be visible. But this is Bolivia, and only a handful of Police were evident. They gave a series of whistles to warn the spectators when the cars were approaching at speeds of 60/70 mph. Some diced with death by standing in the middle of the road, only moving once the car was visible. The risk of a serious accident was extremely high, but like I said. THIS IS BOLIVIA!
It was an awesome thing to see up so close. And the risk of danger only enhanced the experience. The unbelievable noise of the engines echoing around the tightly compact streets and the odor of the burning rubber made it an unforgettable experience.
The 7 Cascadas
My girl, Marion who also happens to be a tour guide offered to take a few of us to the 7 waterfalls which is located just outside of Sucre. It was a half hour bus and another 30 minute hike to the site. None of us knew what we were getting ourselves into. Once we arrived at the site Marion showed us the first pool we could swim in, with an option to jump from a 15 foot rock. But the only way to reach the rock was to scale the treacherous rock face. I love jumping from high points into water but me being a bit of a pussy when it comes to climbing and heights, decided to give it a miss this time.
The first pool at 7 Cascadas
It was time to move onto the next pool. To my horror she told us the only way to reach the next pool was to scale the exact rock face which I had early decided “no way”. Marion was first to go, climbing it with ease just like Lara Croft would do. We all managed to get to the top, helping each other on the way. This was my first experience of rock climbing, and probably my last! To get to the other pools more climbing was required.
Me and Marion at 7 Cascadas
But it was worth it. The natural pools were beautiful and a dip in the green colored water was truly refreshing in the baking afternoon sun. The only problem was to get back we had to negotiate the same rock faces we had early climbed up. We all made it down unscathed and all agreed it was an awesome day.
I was truly fortunate to witness this event. The night previous I had been walking across the Plaza and noticed one of the main roads was closed to traffic and it was filled with brand new Police vehicles. A security guard told us the Chuquisaca Department had be given a brand new fleet of Toyota Hilux’s by the Bolivian Government.
Evo Morales and the Bolivian Government
The next day I was taking an early morning stroll across the plaza when I noticed a stage was now constructed next to the new patrol cars. A crowd was slowly gathering and an announcement over the PA system informed that the president’s arrival would be imminent. An hour and 15 minutes later Senor Evo Morales finally arrived to a ecstatic chants of “EVO, EVO” from his loyal supporters. The national anthem followed with passionate fists raised as they bellowed out their national song. There were lots of handshaking and embracing. Various officials took it in turns to address the crowd and tell the president what a good job he was doing. I’ll be honest, I never actually got to see Senor Morales speak because I was quite frankly bored with the draw out process. It was still a pretty cool thing to see though.
So, there is a round up of my time in Sucre. I am still here and I am still not sure when I will leave. Has anyone else stayed longer in a place than they originally intended while travelling. If so where and why?
German Mike and Me at Florin, Halloween
Me, Taso, Caspar and Arnaud in Florin
A random, English Dave, Me and German Mike in Mitos
After 7 Cascadas
View from Recoletta
English Dave, Me and Polish Artur