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My Journey Round The World » 2009 » December

My Journey Round The World

279 days on the road…

Travel Potosí-Uyuni

2009-12-31-bolivia-Post Travel UyuniAfter Potos√≠ I head toward Uyuni, such a beautiful landscape all along the way!!! Chamging from mountains to plain at more than 3 000 metres high! Seeing plenty of lamas as well as flamingos! Unfortunately I didn’t had time to take pictures… Way was far too chaotic!!!
It seems that gringo’s tarif also apply for bus… I paid 35 bolivianos – 3.5 ‚ā¨, ok here it seems nothing but for a Bolivian budget it is! And this is just on principale – while my Bolivian neighbour paid 25 for the same service! However, what was good is that we had a Coke – ok I don’t like it but still¬† :)included in the price! First time I see that here :)
Also, the trick of the fake policeman doesn’t only apply to tourist! It happened to my young neighbour in a taxi while she was coming to catch the bus from the main bus station… If I get everything right when she explained to people in the bus, she & her friend where robbed of 200 Bolivianos. 3 guys intered the taxi & they couldn’t do anything! For a student – or anyway for anybody else! – it’s hard to take!
I’m leaving today for a 3 days trip in the Salar
So a bit in advance I wish you all the best for the New Year and be sure I’ll think of you overthere… :)

Potosí РConvento-museo Santa Teresa

2009-12-31-bolivia-post Potosi market

When you go early to the market, you can see the butcher cutting the meat… Pretty impressive, even if I guess that we do the same in our countries – Sandrine you have to confirm if you’re husband is doing the same way!¬† - I guess we just don’t see it!

For my last day in Potos√≠ I went to visit the Convento-museo Santa Teresa, a couvent of the Carmelite order built between 1685 and 1692. I was so impressed by the Monasterio Santa Catalina in Arequipa :) Ok, this one wasn’t as beautiful as the Peruvian one but still it has nice architecture and interesting Sala de la Virgin Ni√Īa where you can see all type of dress for the little Virgin doll :) made by the nun and which use to be changed regularly!¬†

2009-12-31-bolivia-Potosi Convento Santa Teresa

Potosí РCerro Rico


Potos√≠ is a colonial city of 145 000 people at 4090 metres high, which mean that it’s the highest city of more than 100 000 inhabitants¬†in the world! Since 1987 the city is labelled Unesco World Heritage List for its baroque architecture.¬†Unless its pretty stiff streets, it reminds me quite a bit of Spain. I enjoyed walking up and down the streets, discovering the different markets or walking back down from the mine – I needed fresh air! – to the city centre, crossing the¬†working-class suburb.

One of the main attraction is to visit the mine of the Cerro Rico, such an unforgetable and quite traumatic experience… I still don’t really understand how people can just kill themselve – life expectancy 45 years old! – with such a hard work¬†that hardly make them able to survive… Visit is very much alive – don’t ever go there if you’re claustrophobic!!! I¬†had to concentrate really hard for not going back, while walking completly hunched in a really narrow tunnel just at the beginning of the visit! Then I could feel the¬†ache in my legs while going up and down the ladder or even just walking at 4 100 metres underground! Quite a challenge – again!¬†- and it gives you a real idea about the miner life as you’re literally with them in the mine! You can easily see how dangerous it is - You’ll never be able to do that in Europe! Too slippery… Too dangerous! – and I felt really sorry to see a 12 years old boy already working there! I’m so glad not to have such a hard life!

After such an experience I walked back to the city, stopping to¬†take a banana fresh juice and taste local food at the market: Pastela, kind of crepe with or without cheese – I tasted both :)and Api drink, I still don’t know what it is but it was good ;)

Tomorrow, visit of Convento-museo Santa Teresa planned before heading toward Uyuni.

2009-12-30-bolivia-potosi-cerro rico-mine

Goodbye Sucre РHello Potosí

2009-12-28_Bolivia_SUCRE-dernier jourSo after such a shock I luckily had a really nice dinner with 2 french travellers: Aline & Alain - travelling for 5 months around South America РI met on my way back from Tarabuco. It was great to be able to exchange our travel impressions and tips !

This morning while having my breakfast in the garden of my nice hostel – Hostelling International Sucre Calle Guillermo Loayza 119 – 200 metres from the bus station, but still quiet on the garden side ;¬†ok 15 min walk from the center… – I met again 2 americains – the one I met at the Jurassic Park. We had a really nice chat before¬†I was¬†getting ready to leave to Potos√≠.

On my way there I was sitting next to a friendly Bolivien: Adr√≠an, with whom I chat in spanish – yes, yes! – most of the time – 3 hours drive! – and who kindly help me to get to the¬†city centre by public transport¬†; the way I prefer :)actually at 4060 metres high, I wouldn’t walk up there with my backpack!

All this positive encounter helps me to recover from my little cultural shock :) Now need to get ready for the visit of the mines which would certainly be quite hard too but I guess really interesting…

Just a normal Sunday…

2009-12-27-bolivia-sucre en beauté du dimanche

Back to Sucre after this colorful-rainy market, I went¬†for¬†a walk¬†around the city. Something was missing… I went from the main square up to Parque Bolivar a bit further down. Really nice green place, full of people on this Sunday afternoon. Full of… clean, well dressed people… All Bolivians but properly dressed, the other world I’ve seen yesterday at Parque Cret√°cico…¬†The western world of Bolivia as I can only call it…

Am I waking up now? How come I didn’t really notice them before?!… Ok, yes I did, but it wasn’t so obvious… Today on the main square – where we did the xmas distribution – I hardly notice any beggars… No more womens with kids all around… It said that people from the countryside are usually coming to the city around xmas to get free food or presents. Well, it seems to be¬†true… I couldn’t really see any of them today – December 27…

I walked back to an internet cafe… To share that with you… I walk back with such a strange feeling… I just¬†don’t understand how the difference can be so big! Ok, we do have poverty in our countries but I don’t think the difference is so huge between people… How come?! I just feel so bad about this revelation… I have no words to express clearly the way I feel. I guess I’m in shock to discover such an obvious reality… Just to see it in front of my eyes… Hard to take! :( Reality… I just have my eyes to cry. My friend Ariane told me that it’s best I didn’t start with India… I guess she is right!


2009-12-27-BOLIVIA-tarabucoSunday: market day in Tarabuco, said to be one of the most colorful markets in South America, well… I have to say it’s not the best I’ve seen… Punata & Chichicastenengo were far more colorful and much more interesting – at least for me! However, what was great was the way to go there! Such an amasing landscape !!! On pictures it’s not the best but to see it was absolutly beautiful… Mountains everywhere you look… I loved it! This region also have another type of tipycal dress & hat with different colors than the one I could see up to now. Funny, it’s supposed to be the most colorful market but I found the clothes darker than anywhere else!

Plus it rain most of the time… So what to do when it’s raining… Taste the food ;) I wanted to taste more than one dish but the one I took was so big: potatoes & corn – I didn’t get the name! – that I couldn’t try anything else… Ok just a small cake for dessert on the way back to Sucre… :)

Parque Cret√°cico

2009-12-26-bolivia-jurassik park

Today something my little brother would have love – at least when he was a kid! ;) – ¬†I went to visit the Bolivian Jurassic Park… Discovered in 1994 in the cement factory, a rock face of¬†2 km long, 40 metres high,¬†68 millions years old with 150 species of which 40 from dinosaurs left their footprint – I’m not a big fan of dinosaurs but it was impressive! It’s the 2nd biggest site of this type in the world! Since 3 years, they open a kind of small amusement park showing real size dinosaurs – you feel like you’re at Disneyland! At least you have a great view on the surrounding from there!

Interesting to see the population visiting the centre… Of course some gringo tourists – with a really good guided visit in English and they also have french! Lucky us as we are paying more than double price than locals!!! - as well as lot of Bolivians. But not the one you’ve recently seen on my pictures. Just the other world of Bolivia, same as western world in this such Hollywood like museum… Crasy to see such a huge difference between the inside and outside of this place… Of course you can notice some in the street but still it was a little shock to see such a concentration… You nearly feel back home.

After my first Spanish visit I met Marco, Adam & Steve on my way down as well as 3 americains from my hostel, so I did the English visit – much more detailed than the Spanish one! And it’s not because I didn’t get everything in Spanish that I’m saying that! Even the guide said it! :)

Christmashare :) Compartiendo la Navidad

2009-12-25-bolivia-25DECEMBRESo we did it! It was so rewarding to see people smiles, happy face… As well as the emotional face of the project¬†initiator’s! I’m glad I could join and participate in this event. Everything went smoothly, no riot as some of us where a bit afraid of. I guess the gringo’s rigor did¬†work!¬†:) – Today, I saw¬†2 riots on the main plaza¬†when people where giving free things away,¬†quite impressive and a bit frightening! – Even local radio & TV came to cover the event thanks to a friendly bolivian spanish teacher :) Project initiators Marco, Adam & Steve were satisfied & hope to renew this experience next year, maybe in their own country…¬†So if you want to join, don’t hesitate! www.christmashare.blogspot.com

Today I went to a lovely caf√© – Caf√© Amsterdam, C/ Bolivar 426 Sucre - to have a tipical Bolivian Christmas dish: Picana. All profits of this Caf√© are meant to support Centro Educativo √Ďantahttp://www.centro-nanta.org/ – a centre for alternative education to¬†help the working children of Sucre on medical, educational and social ways. See Gr√©goire, I don’t even need to share my plate, I can just eat to help ;) So if you’re around, go to have a drink or lunch/diner there! Food was great! :)

Merry Xmas!

2009-12-25-bolivia-preparation-25DECEMBREHey everyone! I wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS from Sucre – Bolivia :)

Tonight I’ll take part¬†in the Xmas share: www.christmashare.blogspot.com I met Adam in Cusco & today I just bump¬†into him at the Mercado in Sucre while he was buying food for the occasion with some others folks. This afternoon we made more than 500 sandwiches, bought some juices, bananas¬†and sweets and we are going to distribute them tonight on the main square… Only¬†small things to make some people more happy… We hope… ;)

El Cristo de la Concordia

2009-12-25-bolivia-tarata-el christoFor my last day in Cochabamba, I wanted to see closely the giant christ  Р33 metres, the biggest in the world, yes, yes! Рdominating the city at 2 500 metres high! So after my morning duty at school I went there with one of the girl I was leaving with at Casa Buen Samaritano РHilary. Great view on the city and surroundings! We were too lasy to climb the 1 350 steps - it was too hot! - so we took the cable-car :)