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We stumbled across the border into a town that I think was called Villazon. The customary Bolivian market mayhem greeted us immediately and the streets were abuzz with vendors, street food and colourful chaotic masses of humanity.

We had idyllic dreams of hopping on one simple and comfortable bus that would deliver us to Sucre in the morning.- sadly, though it looks close on the map, the roads in the south of Bolivia are horrendous and it ain’t that simple. Instead, we chose to go to Turpiza for a night and endured the 7 hours of bumpy discomfort through the barren landscape. Both Jacinta and I had managed to get a bug of some sort and when we arrived, we just staggered around town looking for a comforting soup of some description. Alas, we settled for a street hamburger in desperation and collapsed. (consolation being that it cost about 50c)

Turpiza is supposed to be quite a nice town, famous for its horseriding treks in the desert. When we arrived it had just been clouded in dust storms for three days and we were in no state to go horseriding so I couldn’t tell you if the stories were true. We hopped on a bus to Potosi the next morning.

Potosi is an ugly city on the altiplano famous mainly for its silver mines. We didn’t really want to do a tourist tour of the mines but did want to take the ferrobus (railbus) to Sucre the following day. Accordingly we found dirt cheap local lodgings (1.75 each- our record for a room with actual beds which I doubt will even be topped in Africa) around the corner from the bus/train station.

The Ferrobus is a weird minibus contraption mounted on rails that services small country towns far from the highway. We got tix early and scored seats with fantastic views. The whole 6 hour journey to Sucre was well worth it and gave us a unique insight into rural Bolivia along with a beautiful overview of the mountainous countryside in the area.

We treated ourselves in Sucre. Some German had tipped us off on a plush place to stay with views of the city and we took advantage.  It had a kitchen and two terrazas with great views and our towels were even folded in the shape of ducks. (yes, and this still only cost 7 dollars each). We enjoyed Sucre and spent some days wandering the Sts and taking in the atmosphere. We went to the Parque Cretonico  which is where they recently escavated fossilized footprints of dinasaurs, accidently discovered by labourers at a concrete works. The notion of what we were witnessing was quite immense, but the site itself was a bit underwhelming.We also went to museum of Indigenous Tapestries which was very impressive. Plenty of beautiful antique works with thorough historical explanations in English and Spanish.

The city is very clean and beautiful with lovely white colonial buildings and plenty of nice parks. It has a pleasant vibe, an agreeable climate and pretty good food (for Bolivia) and we had thought of basing ourselves here.- but it all didn’t seem quite right. I guess I like the chaotic, frenetic, and colourful bustle of the rest of the country more and this seemed too much like a Western city. Accordingly, we headed to La Paz to look for work where it is higher, colder, dirtier, bigger, uglier and much more chaotic.


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