My family and I have been in Buenos Aires for a few days. Our biggest reasons for doing this are to escape the summer heat of Texas and so that I can improve Spanish. Here is a short record of our time so far.
Here in Buenos Aires, we’ve already formed our routines. Before I started my Spanish school, we’d always go to a new neighborhood each day. One night, my dad and I went to a neighborhood called Palermo-Soho, a smaller neighborhood in the Palermo neighborhood. We ate really good pizza, then walked around a plaza called Plaza Armenia. We found a really good milkshake place, and then went home. After my Spanish school started, our routine changed. At 4p, dad comes home from work, and he takes us somewhere new. One time, he took us to a cafe with a long history for dinner, La Poesía, then another for dessert. He really knows which places are cool.
One of the best things about Buenos Aires, specifically San Telmo, where we’ll be for the month, is the nearby market. It has so much good food! My favorite is the ever-abundant empanadas, pockets of bread stuffed with various ingredients, baked to perfection. Multiple places sell them, and I love them so much I could eat them three meals a day.
Another thing we’ve done in Buenos Aires is go to a book store called El Ateneo Grand Splendid. It was a remodeled opera house, so, naturally, it is an amazing, beautiful book store. Walking through the front archway into this massive, elegant space with a giant mural on its ceiling is quite a sight. It has a great cafe, too, and its desert was thoroughly enjoyed.
One time on a Thursday and Friday we went to a small town called San Antonio de Areco. Our stay there centered around a nearby ranch called El Ombú. We rode horses, ate a traditional meal consisting of various meats call “asado”, and experienced a beautiful song and dance. Riding horses through the beautiful Argentine countryside, locally called La Pampas, was quite an experience.
We didn’t do much in Lima, but we did walk around and see some amazing fountains.
The walk was special. We saw many, many dogs, some of which had twins. Below us, in the ocean, we saw lots of people surfing. Most where still paddling out, but some where riding waves. When we reached the mall, we found a place to eat and had our meal. The mall was open air and really cool. We got ice cream and walked around. I was amazed.
Also we saw some colorful fountains and a laser light show. During the day, a couple of fountains were free for kids to play in, but we didn’t have my bathing suit, so I couldn’t play with them. There was also a tunnel made purely of water in the park. There was also a statue of Sucre, one of the South American men who had helped defeat the Spanish, in the park. The park was amazing. It was so beautiful.
We just happened to walk around town at about the time when the presidential guards would switch at the presidential palace. They had a big ceremony, and I was kind of bored. It was still kinda cool, though.
We got out of the bus, crossed the street, and climbed the tower. The Nazca Lines were amazing! The lines were very shallow, very thin. They were shaped into animals we know of. More or less. They were created about 2,000 years ago. But why? No one knows. They could have been made as a calendar. They could have been made to honor the local gods. But they were too perfect too have been made using a regular garden shovel or anything similar. I personally believe that aliens created them using their little lasers. They were trying to depict the creatures they’d seen during their travels around Earth. The pictures did look like animals found on Earth. A monkey, an ant, a condor, a shark, a frog… however mysterious they were, they were amazing.
Next, we were in Huacachina, a village built around an oasis near the city of Ica. My favorite activity was sand boarding. Imagine flying down a dune at a speed that feels like 100 mph. Would you scream your head off? Of course you would. We did, too, for the first few times. But after we got used to it, it was freakin’ addictive. We had two races. A young woman from our group won both races. Both times, I was ahead of Dad, who was last. As we took a fun, roller coaster-like ride back to Huacachina, the four women screamed their heads off as if a lion had jumped in the dune buggy. I closed my eyes tight, and one young man yelled, “Please! No! Make it stop! Make it stop! Please!”. Then, after watching the sunset, we took pictures of the village below. It was great.
In Paracas, we took a tour to some smelly islands off the coast. It was flourishing with life. Thousands, perhaps millions, of birds were either flying around the island or resting on it. Though most of these birds were seagulls, there also were some tiny penguins and pelicans. Also, the islands were home to sea lions. The guide told us about the bird poop, which was so plentiful that it formed thick rocks, was harvested for fertilizer. Years ago, they used yo harvest 10 feet of the poop every year. Now, they still harvest about the same amount of the poop, but because there are fewer birds, they don’t harvest as often. Now, they harvest the poop every 5 – 8 years. Enough talk about poop. But, man, talk about birds! There were more than you’d ever seen in your life here! There were even some small, black ones I didn’t know the name of. What a sight!
Hacienda de San José in Chincha was a huge mansion with lots of rooms. Today, it is a hotel with a small museum. One part of the museum were tunnels. The family had a business in agriculture, but the indigenous workers weren’t quite strong enough for the jobs. So they imported slaves from Africa. 70% had to be male, while the other 30% had to be female. Once they got there, they were hidden in the tunnels and waited. They didn’t have any candles, so the ones who tried to escape simply hit their heads on the ceiling. Down there, it was pitch-black and very dusty. Some slaves even died.The doctor would come and pick out the strongest and healthiest slaves, keeping in mind how many should be male and how many should be female. The rest would be sent on their way. We were in the tunnels in a group of about 10 and still a little cramped, but many groups of slaves were 4 or 5 times the amount. When the other South America people came to free Peru from Spanish control, they told the slaves that if they fought on their side, they would be freed. The slaves agreed to help. When Peru was free from Spanish control, the South Americans didn’t keep their promise. However, slavery ended 33 years later in Peru. Without a civil war. But the owners of the Hacienda de San José house didn’t want to free their slaves. So they kept them completely hidden from the outside world. No one from the mansion could go to the city, and no one from the city could go to the mansion. If anyone knew about the slaves hidden in the tunnels, they would lose their tongue. However, the slaves learned, after 2 years, that they were free. So then, they killed the son of the owners, and ran off, feeling free as birds.
So many birds!!!
Checkin out the red sand beach
Ready to ride in the dune buggie!
These dunes are in the driest desert in the world!
During our time in Colca Canyon, we did lots of things. I played with four kids. Two were Peruvian. Their names were Diego and Santiago. The other two were German. All of the kids lived in Lima. The German kids had moved there two years ago. We played a lot (i) of foosball. The Germans had a special trick: to pass the ball back, then kick it even harder. Once, I was playing with Santiago against the two German kids. The older of our two opponents, the German boy, kicked the ball from the defense to the back offense. In the middle of pass, I gave it a good whack. The ball curved and went straight into the goal. The boy stopped with that trick after the costly interception.
My favorite thing in Colca Canyon was the observatory. It was a place where we looked at stars and planets. We peeked at Jupiter. The gas giant looked about the size of the tip of my pointer finger in the microscope. Below it were four dots of bright light in perfect sequence. Each were a little smaller than my pinky nail through the telescope. They were Jupiter’s largest moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. They were a spectacular sight.
Also in Colca Canyon, we rode horses. My horse was a little naughty, but she was very gentle. Once, the reins got tied around her front leg. I didn’t notice. Instead of doing what other horses would have done, which would be to buck me of, she laid down. Thankfully, I hadn’t been balanced, but neither had I noticed, so only the flap of my shoe got stuck underneath her. If I had been properly balanced, my whole leg would have been stuck beneath her. I think that I would rather keep my leg.
We also saw condors while overlooking the canyon. There were so many of the majestic birds. They put on a spectacular show I will never forget. What an amazing creature.
One of our first days in Arequipa, we saw the Santa Catalina convent. We learned a lot. We learned about how the second children of a family had to become nuns or priests. We learned about how, for the first four years, the nuns, sent to the convent around age 13, saw no one but their teachers. We learned about how they lived and much more. We were informed about an important nun named Ana de los Angeles. She’d been sent to the convent for education at age 3, but permanently pulled out 10 years later, to be forcibly married to a man who was much older than she was. She ended up running away and permanently joining the convent. Her parents refused to give her the donation she needed, but her brother helped. She died at age 80. Centuries later, in the 1900s, a woman very sick with cancer mixed tiny portion of the ash of Ana de los Angeles with her medicine. In only a few days, she was completely cured.
After seeing the convent, we head a nice lunch overlooking a plaza with music in the background. Later, I fed the birds. So many! So aggressive! It seemed as if a literal sea of pigeons was swarming me. It was amazing.
The next day, we had a delicious lunch with the family we were staying with. I had cuy. It came with the claws, bones, head and all. It was actually kinda disgusting, but it was good. I liked it!
Also, we saw bulls fighting. This was not the Spanish style, where the man with the cape kills the bull with a spear. Instead, in this Peruvian style, bulls head butted each other, and when one was too hurt to continue and ran, the other won. During the last fight we saw, one bull pushed another into the barrier. There was an explosion of people as everyone rushed to avoid the danger. It was a little scary. Eventually, the bull with the bloodiest wounds, the one obviously losing, chased away the other and won the match. Woo!
We also stayed with a wonderful family in a beautiful house with lots of space. They were family of a friend of ours. Their names were Carmen Sr., Pepé Sr, and Carmen Jr. Pepé Jr, my parents’ friend, got in touch with us, and he wanted us to stay with his family.They were so nice and so welcoming! Hospitable, too!
I took another bite of the meat. It was tender, and was easy to cut and chew. I looked at the remaining meat on my plate. It was round and flat. It was long and skinny. I was suddenly suspicious. I flipped it over, saw the tiny bumps, and my suspicions were confirmed – the meat was tongue.
That’s not the only crazy food we had in Ollantaytambo. On our first day, we had an assortment of vegetables. I found one vegetable that felt fatty. It tasted like meat. Later, after we were done eating, my parents surprised me. They told me the truth: that the tasty vegetable wasn’t a vegetable at all. It was cow stomach.
We entered the ruins. We got a guide for an hour. She told us many different things. For example, at the Princess Baths, she explained to us that once a year, every June 21, the sun would rise up over the the mountain and a single dot of sunlight would appear where water trickled in from a hole in the wall. Another fact was that for palaces and other important buildings, they would use giant stones made of granite. They would be cut with high precision, niches and notches connecting, and stuck together like LEGOs, no mortar needed. Also, the windows and doors were shaped like trapezoids. In an earthquake, the building would shake, but remain standing. We loved our tour. It was amazing.
The family we stayed with was amazing, too. They were so nice. They greeted us like family. I played with their niece a lot, and it was simply amazing.
We also loved the old town. It was full of beautiful Spanish colonial and original Inca architecture. Beautiful. Beautifully mysterious.
The sun burst above the mountains, and bathed everything in beautiful morning sunshine. The early morning rays washed everything in golden sunlight, including the ancient city below the mountain on which we were standing. In the midst of all the foundations of all the unused buildings was a giant field… with llamas in it! We spent lots of time at the lookout before finding the Inca bridge. It was a bridge across the valley, connected to the side of a mountain. It was made of stone and wood.
When we got back, we went nuts exploring Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu means “Old Mountain” in Quechua, the language of the Incas. Machu Picchu was built around 1450, at the height of the Inca empire, because the Incas needed a outpost in the holy area considered to be the border between the Andes mountain range and the Amazon jungle. It was abandoned around 1570, shortly after the Spanish conquest. We saw every room, making our way to the giant field, and noticed small ditches in the rock where clean water would flow. There were two different areas, the urban area, which we were in, and the agricultural area, which was behind us. We continued onward. Soon, we reached the field. We were standing on the edge of the field, watching the llamas as they grazed and grazed and grazed. We kept on going. Not long after that, we passed the way to Wayna Picchu which means “Young Mountain”, a neighboring mountains with a couple of little sights on it. We passed through a long building, with lots of neat cuts in the walls, perfect for storing things. The whole rest of the time, I thought up a story. We were all wearing out, and fast. It seemed like only seconds before we were walking out the door, ready for the mysteries of life to overcome us once again.
I reached out to the smallest guinea, which was also the closest. It was the size of a pet guinea pig you would find in the States. Only it was a baby. The guinea pigs all scattered. Some of them were absolutely huge, maybe even more than a foot long. The were so cute, but they weren’t pets. They were food.
Soon after our visit to the guinea pigs, we strolled around the Písac market. The square was full of fruit stands. It was a very colorful market. They also had a arts and crafts section. We bought a strip of natural powder-like colors for some friends. As we made our way to the shared taxi station, we saw a girl about my age with an adorable lamb. I loved on it and got a photo. But, as I’d said earlier, guinea pigs were food. And soon, they would be food for us.
For my parents’ anniversary, we had a special order of Cuy (guinea pig) in Cusco. Mom was feeling adventurous, so she decided to take it as her meal. She let me have a bite. It tasted like duck. I should have eaten it instead. Mom was crying as if a family member had died. Apparently, all she’d been thinking was, Poor Linny! Linny is a guinea pig in Wonder Pets, an American TV show for little kids. Eventually, after eating most of it, she let the waiter take it. But no one could take the Inca like they had taken Mom’s cuy.
The museum of sites of the Qoricancha talked about Pre-Inca settlements as well as their technology. Then they talked about the Inca, going into a lot of depth about their empire’s holdings, including the cities, and then the Spanish conquest. The Spanish conquistadors came and crushed everything in the Incas’ society. Terrible. Just terrible. Chinchero was just up the road.
We went to Chinchero, a village near Moray. We soon got a brief demonstration of the different things used for cleaning and dying wool. Then they died the wool, pointed out a couple of nearby women who were spinning the wool into thread, and lastly wove the thread into a beautiful blanket. Soon, we’d visit the site that Chinchero was very close to.
Moray was a very interesting Inca site. It was made up of 21 different terraces, going down instead of up, used to make 3 different ecosystems. It was also used to experiment with crops. The bottom terrace was the wettest and hottest. This system of terraces was dedicated mainly towards potatoes. At least in this place. What’s Pre-Inca and involves salt water? You’re about to find out.
Next, we saw the salt mines. In was an intriguing, Pre-Inca site with loads and loads of pools. They were filled with salt water, and when the time came, after the pool turned from brown to yellow to white, all water entries were blocked off. After the water evaporated, they had a pool full of salt. What a spectacular process! Read on to find out about the spectacular gift I got in Cusco.
As we were about to leave Cusco, I got an adorable stuffed guinea pig for a present from the owners of our AirBnb apartment. I played with two really little kids, before leaving. What a great gift!
Colorful Stains for painting and dying
Colorful yarn with the natural material the colors are made from
The boat stopped, and we got out on the floating island of Uros in Lake Titicaca, Perú. The ground, made of reeds, was very peaty. The ground gave way a little when you stepped in it, but bounced back up. A couple of locals explained how the village was built from blocks of reed and compost. Then our guide told us of the activities in the village, which included fishing for food. Our group didn’t get to fish, though. We also dressed up and got our pictures taken. I was put in a shirt and hat against my own will that made me look like I was five years old. We took a local boat to the next floating island, which was empty. Then we got back on the tour company’s boat, went to the next island, bought some snacks, and headed to a real island.
The climb up to the plaza was exhausting, and during, when I had something to say, it was barely audible. Though, the Snickers bar I’d had gave me a boost, but not for long. We bought a few bracelets, and by the time we started walking again, we couldn’t even see the back of the group. When we finally reached the lunch place, I was ready to pass out from exhaustion and take a nap. The food gave me renewed strength, and we bought a bracelet for a friend.
We passed a sheep surrounded on one side by the spikiest bushes you’ve ever seen, and on the other was a steep climb. With it was the tiniest black lamb you’ve ever seen, which had to have been newborn. It was black as night, with a white splotch on its head. We tried to get a little bit closer, but the mom made a horrible noise. The message was clear: Stay away from my baby! We took some pictures, and when we got back down, we headed off towards Puno, watching the waves lapping on the side of the boat.
A belt made from alpaca and women’s hair
Suma Pacha Village
The president of the village, Walter, showing us how the islands are made.
The cable cars rode up, up, up, but finally stopped as we reached the station in El Alto. I could have easily renamed it “El Altura”, because even without doing anything, we were all panting hard. Dad asked if we wanted to walk around town, but because of the altitude, we didn’t want anything to do except get back down. We ended up taking the line all the way down, then had a snack at the bottom, then took it to up to the station we’d gotten on at. It was amazing! The views were astounding! Also, it wasn’t a cheesy tourist thing. Most people riding it were locals, getting to their workplaces. Awesome!
In La Paz, we also saw Bolivian Cholita wrestling, where traditionally-dressed women get in a ring together and beat each other up. My favorite match was when Margarita, a small, 17-year-old girl, who we had met on the bus to the stadium, faced a big woman, and won multiple times. It was obvious that they were fighting their hardest. Oh, how wonderful! I’d never had a better time in my life.
We got out of the boat, and I started walking around the sandbar. Soon I steeped into some mud, and started sinking. I tried to escape. However, I only sunk faster. I had fallen into quicksand! I wiggled my legs, gave them a good yank, and finally they came free. But where were my sandals? I reached down with my hands and pulled them out. They were covered in mud, but not damaged, so they were fine. I put them on. After giving myself a much-needed rinse, we headed into the little settlement. Whew, I though, that was a close one. Gotta be more careful in the jungle, James!
The settlement was full of pitifully scrawny dogs. We looked at the crops, and squeezed sugar cane into a delicious juice. Then we were off toward our lodge again.
When we got there, we had lunch, then took a hike. When we got back, we rested, then had dinner, then I, discovering Mom had brought her nook, read for a little while before going to bed.
The next morning, we got up bright and early (you can imagine how grumpy I was), hiked to the campsite, and the sky opened up. It was rain like you’d never seen before. It was as if the oceans had overturned, like someone grabbed the whole river and threw it all on us. This is what it must feel like being an ant when the lawn sprinkler points your way, I thought.
Finally we got to the campsite, and I read. Soon I was pulled off my book to do arts and crafts (not the best thing when you’re reading a good book), but one of the guides made a caiman-tooth necklace for me. I read until dinnertime, then we took a night hike through the jungle. We saw lots of bugs, including some ants that were a little more than an inch long. They were called 24-hour ants, because if one bit you at twelve o’clock noon, the pain didn’t go away until twelve o’clock noon the next day. Basically, the pain didn’t subside for 24 hours. Ow! Also, hearing the strange sounds spooked me a bit.
The next day, when we got back to the lodge after a combination of swimming and floating down the river on a raft, which we’d had to build from scratch using tree trunks, we rested for a couple of hours. Then, us and our group mates headed off to a stream that fed to the river to fish.
First, Trent, the Australian man, pulled up a silvery two-and-a-half footer. It flapped so hard it escaped the hook, and was sent flying through air. It landed with a wham! on the ground halfway up the hill. Trent tried to hold the slippery fish in place with his foot, but it slid right down into the pond. It must have told its friends, because we didn’t catch anything else in that water. Although, in another pond, we managed to catch two tiger fish, which were about a foot and a quarter each, and one catfish, which couldn’t have been bigger than a foot. We ate well, and slept well, too.
We woke up, and found ourselves heading to town for our short break before the Pampas tour. We took a long drive (stopping on the side of the road to admire a sloth), saw a massive bird, and suddenly, the road was filled with water. We got out of the car, boarded a tiny motorboat, and rode the rest of the way to the lodge via the river. At one point, we came to a spot where two rivers met, forming a large pond. As we sped by, dolphins jumped up out of the water and fell back in again. I’m not kidding! Though, unfortunately, we were so fast that we only had a few moments to cherish the beauty of the memory. After we reached the lodge, we ate and rested before going on a “short” tour.
We swam with the dolphins, which was pretty cool, then went around looking for monkeys and birds. At first, I didn’t want to get in the water. I was in the pond already, though, wishing I could be in the boat. Then Mom jumped in, and called a dolphin over. It came right up to us and made a big splash. After what seemed like ages, I headed for the boat, but stopped when I heard a dolphin heading after me. I tucked my feet below my legs, but I still felt the dolphin nosing me playfully. It was quite an experience.
Finally we ended up floating in a flooded field watching the sunset. At about that time, we saw a caimans in a couple of different places. We were thoroughly spooked, though amazed, and went straight for the lodge. We had dinner and got a relatively ‘good’ night’s sleep.
The next morning, we had breakfast, toured around, and finally ended up in a horse ranch that had a kind of bus stop attached to it. Finally we rode off to Rurrenabaque, ending our tour of the Pampas and the Jungle.
I got on top of the old, useless train. Mom wanted me to get even higher, but I didn’t because it looked too dangerous. We got some awesome pictures, and soon we rode back to town to buy things like sunglasses and pick up lunch. As we drove across the salt flats, we stopped at places like the salt triangles, big piles of salt, before eating lunch.
Afterwards, we took our silly photos, messing with the perspective. We continued on to Fish Island, a small area of land in the middle of the salt flats with dirt, rock, and strangely enough, coral. Millions of years ago, the Pacific Ocean had reached even the salt flats, and the whole island had underwater, but when mountains had risen far into the ocean, gigantic, salty lakes were created. These lakes eventually dried up, creating salt flats. We explored around for a little while.
I found a cool cave and a small but awesome pit safely guarded by steep rock walls and spiky plants on almost every direction. After about an hour of driving, we escaped the salt flats and after about another hour of driving, we arrived at the salt hotel, a hostel made of entirely of salt bricks. While it was chilly outside, the salt kept us very warm.
The next day, we saw a bunch of lagoons with flamingos in them. One was even red! Our guide said it was because of the microorganisms that the flamingos ate, but one of our companions joked that it was red from blood. Human blood…
The sun just peeked over the mountains as the geysers continued their endless spraying of mist. It smelled eggy. Even though it was warm, it had a way of getting us away. Next we went to green lake. It earned its name, but because we were too early, it was not green at the time. Then we relaxed in the hot springs. By the time we ended our tour, we were ready for the next place.
The theater darkened. The performance was about to start. I ate the cookies we had bought. The performance, apparently, was just different bits an pieces of different symphonies by Handel. I only lasted a few clips before nodding off. I woke up to the loudest ‘Alleluia’ ever. When we got home, I went straight back to bed.
More fun I had was when I played with the daughter of the owners of our guest house, Carla. We would play Plants vs. Zombies, and with our Uno cards and toys. One day, we both had school holiday, and we played with several toys. With the Uno cards, not only did we play classic Uno, but I also made up some games, like Wild Match, Uno War, and Uno War 2.
Something we did almost every day that I enjoyed was feeding the birds in the main plaza. It was very relaxing – less exhausting then chasing them. It gave me lots of pleasure. Sometimes, we would eat ice cream while watching people breakdance in the middle of the square. The zebra crossing guards were cool, too, and one day, on our way to the main plaza, we encountered a parade.
The pre-colonial road was made of rocks put together, and was very steep. Towards the beginning of the hike, I saw something strange in the rocks, which looked like Thomas Jefferson’s head put on the sphinx’s body, with the Hawa Mahal from Jaipur, India, in the background. Not long afterward, I got hungry and took out one of the sandwiches that we had packed. I devoured it in a few hungry bites. Then we continued on. We passed a place that used to be a rest stop for travelers and their animals. I thought we would eat there, but we didn’t.
My toes really started to hurt. Soon we reached the modern, dirt road. That was much better for my feet. A short time later, we reached a small ledge behind a rock wall. I thought we would eat there, but we didn’t.
Next, we went down steep, sandy terrain. Beforehand, mom tied my shoes tighter, so they wouldn’t hurt my feet as much. I still got my feet hurt, and a while later, our guide, Jorge, put some muscle cream on my toe, under a tree. I thought we would eat there, but we didn’t.
After another long while, I ended up switching bags with mom, and immediately my pace quickened. Soon, mom pulled out a sandwich, saying that she had had it, and that she was starving. She gobbled her sandwich in a few quick gulps. Jorge said that our lunch place was just around the corner. It saw a tall evergreen, assuming he meant that. We just passed by the place. Soon he pointed at an evergreen grove that appeared far, but was in fact pretty close. We got there, and finally ate. Upon learning we would be there for an hour, I asked if I could read, but the permission wasn’t granted, because I had been complaining too much. After a while, we got up to go. A flock of sheep crossed the river. I approached a black lamb, but a white sheep chased me off. We soon crossed the bridge, too, and things got real.
We hiked along the trail, not the road. We went uphill, and it was steep. Most plants we passed were spiky, due to low amounts of rain. We got very low on water. A little time of hiking passed, and we reached a precipice that was too thin to normally walk on. We had to be strategic to cross. Tiny shards of rock came off and stuck to my hand like burrs and hurt like splinters. Afterwards, mom and I got some chocolate. That was a mistake! It made us very thirsty. By the time we got to town, we had no water, and were thirstier than you can imagine. When we passed a hostel, our guide told us that that was the place we were staying. The man running the hostel gave us three big water bottles. At the end of the day, we had drunk around 2 gallons of water. That’s a lot of water!
The next day wasn’t as long or hard. In the middle of the afternoon, we arrived at the town where we were supposed to catch the bus, and met up with some backpackers from a few different countries we’d met earlier in the trip. We eventually got on the back of a truck, which had clumps of dirt and pebbles in the corners. This was a very bumpy and dusty ride. We passed the bus that we should have been on, which rejected us because it was too full, and it was apparently pulled over because the driver felt like having a lunch break. We ended up getting kicked off at a construction site. We were about to get on a truck that was more sheltered, but they had to unload some cement. Finally we were off toward Sucre again.
The next day, we went to a festival at a Tarabuco. It crowded and boring. Although, at the center of town, there was a beautiful plaza, and on the side of it, the president was giving a speech. On the outskirts of the park in the middle, there was an animated statue of the indigenous man who had led the rebellion in the area, standing over a Spanish soldier who literally had a whole where he should have had a heart. The indigenous man had a horn in one hand… and the soldier’s heart in the other. Last, we watched an assortment of dances while eating lunch in a beautiful courtyard with lots of grass.
Lastly, we spent the weekend running around and chilling out to wrap up our time in Sucre.
Cool stiations in the rock.
A long wobbly bridge
Crossing the river
Taking a break.
Tired and thirsty!
Finally arrived in Maragua, a town in the middle of a huge crater.
Riding on the crowded bus to hike.
Got to ride in the cab of the truck on the way to Sucre.
One great day was when we walked around a dinosaur park with over 5,000 dinosaur footprints, the largest of which were twice the size of my torso. Wow! The models were really cool, too. The eggs of sauropods were a little smaller than basketballs. That’s massive! Even more amazing, most sauropods had a major case of gigantism, which meant they didn’t stop growing. Ever! Most mothers could have easily squashed their babies and hardly notice it. How sad! What was even sadder was that we had to leave. Aww!
We also saw some museums. We saw the bread museum, which I though would be cool, but was slightly disappointing. I thought they would give out free bread, but they didn’t. We also saw the costume museum, which I thought would be boring, but was actually quite interesting. It starred the clothes of royal and wealthy 19th century families (of course, what did you expect?). The women wore corsets, which were so tight that they caused trouble breathing, and possibly even deaths. I especially liked the anthropology museum. It talked about cultures from the area, some of which tied cloth tightly around their heads shortly after birth, to create an oblong head. That was amazing but freaky at the same time! We saw the art museum, too, which was in the same complex. Even though everything else we did was cool, my favorite was the natural history museum. They had lots of taxidermied animals, even snakes, dogs, and lynxes. I was very sad it was so small. Before we knew it, we were right back out the door again.
Formed skulls – Anthropology Museum
Mummies – Anthropology Museum
Condor – Natural History Museum
The women were tiny! – Costume Museum
Dino Eggs – Dino Park
A drawing of dinosaurs that my have made the tracks – Dino Park
My teammate was trapped on every side possible from the front. He passed it back to me and I ran to the goalpost. I took a shot and scored! Goooooooooooooooooooooooooal! I was playing soccer with some kids at a kids fair. The daughter of the owners of our guesthouse was going to the kids fair, too. They invited us, so we came.We had a pretty exciting match.
We also saw a pretty exciting match. It was Universitario, Sucre’s team, playing at home, against Bolivar, La Paz’s team. Bolivar scored in the middle of the first half. In the middle of the second half, one Universitario player stomped on the foot of a Bolivar player and was thrown out of the game. Once, Universitario had a corner kick. I had the feeling that this would be a goal. We’d had so many near-misses so far. The ball was kicked and bounced on someone’s head into the net. Goooooooooooooooooal! The crowd went nuts! Everyone yelled and cheered on Universitario.