It’s hard to believe that I was only in Bolivia 10 days, but in that time I certainly managed to squeeze a lot in.
The plan was to meet up with some of the people I’d shared the house with in Buenos Aires in Sucre, the constitutional capital of Bolivia. They had left Buenos Aires early on Sunday morning, but I had a pub quiz to attend (and win) so I left on Monday morning. Of course, this being South America and despite the fact that Bolivia shares a border with Argentina this was no easy task. The bus to the border took 28 hours (and I had to travel in Semi-Cama which regular readers will know is not my favourite mode of transport) and once there I had to wait in the border town of Villazon for another 4 hours before leaving for Sucre.
Bolivia hits you the second you cross the border. The town on the Argentine side, La Quiaca is a typical, small, dusty, fairly quiet Argentine village, but on the other side of the little bridge you enter chaos. There is life everywhere in Bolivia, people selling all manner of things, local women wearing bowler hats carrying huge loads in colourful blankets, kids running round, dogs sniffing everything, it’s a little bit overwhelming to start with.
Anyway, I sat in Villazon a while taking all this in and bought my ticket to Sucre, another 13 hour bus journey away, And what a trip! The bus was a kind of huge 4 wheel drive affair, raised a good 2 feet off the ground. The seats were pretty basic, with no heating, no blankets nothing. For the first 8 hours we bounced down one of the worst gravel roads I’ve ever been on, all the while having to shut the window every 10 mins as it refused to stay closed on its own. It was hell. Everything I’d heard about Bolivian buses was right there on my first trip. It didn’t have any chickens on it though, which I was thankful for.
Safely got to Sucre, a little dusty and tired, met up with the others (we were now a group of 9) and spent a good day there. It was a complete change from Villazon, with a pretty central square and old cobbled streets leading off in all directions. I liked it. We went to a football match in the evening, Sucre against La Paz. Was very wierd, the highlight being a dog running across the pitch and then being “arrested” by a police dog. Sucre won 2-1.