so i find myself again in Bolivia. im finding quickly its an understatement to call it a magical land, both of snow-capped peaked and deep Amazon jungles. I will be living here for at least the next three months, and although i am not really sure what this time holds in store for me, I am excited for the adventure that life has given me.
For the moment, I am in Sucre. The people who live here consider it to be the heart of Bolivia, the place where the declaration of independence from Spain was signed on August 6th, 1825. Its a beautiful old colonial city, and considered by UNESCO to be a ‘World Heritage Site.’
I was enchanted by the incredible details in the traditional textile weavings I saw at the El Museo de Textil Etnografico, which is a project that not only explains much of the myth behind the designs, but also works to preserve this art, providing local people opportunities to teach the new generations of weavers and a market for their work.
Also, got to satisfy my childhood love of dinosaurs (is it too nerdy to admit that I had multiple books and plastic models, and that i could not only identify various species, but also discuss different theories and controversies?) at the Parque Cretácico, which has the world’s largest collection of fossilized dinosaur footprints. Not to mention several pretty awesome live size dinosaurs. The whole experience was made prehistoric by running through a torrential downpour in between dinosaur legs.
One of the more stand out aspects of my time in Sucre was that it fell on the beginning of Carnival, sort of the Marti Gras of South America, minus the beads and flashing. So i’ve been in Latin America for pretty much three years now, but have always some how missed everything that goes with this event. Well, in Sucre it was celebrated, first by much water balloon throwing. Even tiny kids like three years old where carrying around bags of water balloons, ready to hit what person caught their attention. Complete strangers included. Teens were having all out wars, running and ducking behind cars stopped at red lights as they advanced. So it was inevitable that I would eventually become a victim. Im just innocently walking along, minding my own business, and all of sudden-BAM-i have no idea what just happened, but suddenly the entire left side of my face is soaking wet. I can only conclude it wasnt just any normal water balloon, but a normal full-sized balloon destined for some unsuspecting extranjera.
Another fun part of the whole Sucre carnival experience, was multiple parades. They seemed to just form, impromptu, whenever enough friends with instruments got together. And then they would walk around the plaza and the main streets attracting much water ballooning. There were also more organized groups, but the strange thing was every group was promoting a different social message. Some to wear sunscreen, some to follow traffic lights, others telling you how you would die if you used drugs. Good messages, odd method.