Welcome to Sucre
Leaving the old mining town of Potosi, we make the decision to go to another colonial town, Sucre. The town is known on the travelers´circuit for its cheap Spanish schools, but neither of us plan on taking language classes. We also do not plan on staying that long in Sucre and we end up being here one month without leaving once -- making it the longest that we have stayed anywhere since May 2010. Sucre is just kind of like that.
|Sucre is now the third "White City" that we have been to in South America|
|A Spanish study session with flashcards|
|A university entrance|
|An Eiffel Tower? Yes, the famous French architect really did design this tower|
|A church entrance|
This year we have been to so many colonial towns, and I always find something pleasant about strolling through the cobblestone streets lined with modern day shops while peeking into inner courtyards that are oozing with history. The one thing that can always get to me though are the narrow pedestrian-filled sidewalks and the congested streets designed for mules, not buses or cars. The Spanish city planners definitely did not foresee dramatic growth to their colonized towns and Sucre is no exception. The sidewalks here can get clogged especially at lunch time when school gets out, and the streets become crowded with cars and secondhand Japanese buses. Click the link to see my first Sucre blog.
|An inner courtyard|
|Sucre is also proudly home to El Parque Cretacico (The Dinosaur Park). Around the city are homages to these now extinct reptiles. This awesome phone booth stands outside the airport.|
Alasitas - A Miniature Festival
While in Sucre we happen to catch La Fiesta de las Alasitas - the abundance festival of the Aymara people. The largest festival takes place in La Paz in January and smaller ones are held in other cities at different times of the year. At this festival Bolivians buy miniature items of which they aspire to own and offer them to Ekeko, the God of Abundance. The items are blessed by a Yatiri (usually from whom you bought the small items) over incense and then brought to the church by the patrons to give their own blessing. This shows the interesting blend between indigenous and Spanish cultures.
|The busy church entrance during Alasitas|
A few months back I wrote about the joys of minimizing my possessions and meanwhile I just bought the Aymara ceramic God of Abundance that I will need to cart around the continent until we reach the USA again sometime this autumn..
|Sucre's Central Market|
|Fruit Juice Stands|
|Eggs and Cheese|
|Clothing section open only in the evening|
|There is even a bananas/plantains section|
A Day In The Life
So one might be thinking...if you are in the town for a month and not taking Spanish classes what could you possibly be doing all day in Sucre? I would say that most people here study Spanish, but some study things like Quechua or folkloric dancing. Spanish schools will also help people find volunteer opportunities in places such as, orphanages, pre-schools or hospitals. Some also figure out how to do their own thing. We meet one Australian who paints murals around town. Meanwhile, I end up being very busy all month as a volunteer photographer for an organization helping working children (which I will write about in the next blog post). Mika focuses her energy on the kitchen making Indian curries, gyoza -Japanese dumplings, and hand-made pizzas.
|Pizza de la casa|
|Our "home" for a month|
|This hidden gem (crepe with three balls of ice cream inside) is found at a cafe on the main plaza for just 12 Bolivianos (US $1.75)|
Volunteer For A Day
An example of what can be done in Sucre: One day I go with a friend who has been volunteering at a daycare center in a poor neighborhood outside of town. The daycare center provides education and meals to pre-school children at minimal cost. Volunteers help the undermanned staff with the daily activities of the center and keeping the rambunctious kids entertained. I spend one fun day at a daycare center playing with, dancing with and taking photos of these ridiculously photogenic children.
|Lunch - some of the kids older siblings also eat here after school|