Friday, October 13, 2006

Disappearing into the jungle...

Well, Bolivia is definitely keeping us entertained. After Potosi we spent a day in Sucre, the other capital city. My dad's plans to see the dinosaur tracks in the local cement factory were thwarted by our inability to track down the temptingly corny "dinobus", but instead we went to this really excellent textile museum. As opposed to most of the museums we went to in La Paz the next day, it had been updated since 1986 and didn't just have a "50 letter or less" plaque next to each display. For about 10 years they have sponsored a project in two indigenous communities (Jalq'a and tarabuco) to support/revive traditional weaving. They have an extremely comprehensive display of both the modern weavings of both communities and artifacts going back thousands of years. They include TONS of info analyzing it along historical/anthropological lines as well as an artistic perspective. I'll stop raving until I can put up some pretty pictures to accompany my boring text :)
We didn't like sucre as much as la paz or even potosi, and were glad we had only planned to stay one day. It was nice enough, but we couldn't find the lovely cafes of the other towns and besides that museum and the dinosaurs, not much to do. But the next day we found to our dismay that the transit strike had spread to other major cities, including sucre! After a few panicky minutes, we finally found a taxi with another guy also flying back to la paz that morning, and had an entertaining ride to the airport that involved much backing down streets after discovering they were blocked. Ironically, when we got back to la paz we found that they had resolved their own strike there!
We really only spent yesterday afternoon in la paz killing time before leaving for our jungle trip this morning. We went to the afore mentioned random museums, the highlight of which were the graphically bloody battle displays in the history museum - and the instrument museum! Unlike the trip Richard and I took to the instrument museum in London, it did not feature historic european instruments (although there was a harmonium!). Instead it was the charango (a local small guitar) hall of fame, as well as home to all kinds of modern improvised instruments which will eventually show up in my pictures. Then last night we caught a showing at the cheap local theater (a genuine old theater with balcony and ushers and everything!) of the fabulous movie "Quién mató a la llamita blanca?", which turned out to be a darkly hilarious Bolivian Bonnie and Clyde drug trafficking caper. (you can watch the trailer at that link!) Reminded me a lot of Que tan lejos, with its hometown appeal and familiar footage of spots in la paz and around the country, but with lots more incisive social commentary.
This morning I mailed a bunch of postcards... so many of you lucky readers should be recieving a taste of bolivia in 6-8 months. I love that the stamps are all of Evo Morales, the current outspoken indigenous coca loving president.
That brings me to the jungle! We took a VERY small plane to Rurrenbaque (where we landed on a grass strip...) and were met by our ever helpful guide from Chalalan, the supposedly incredible ecolodge we are going to spend 3 days at. Since it involves a 5-7 hour canoe ride up the river, we are spending the night in town first. I keep thinking i'm at the ecuadorian coast, it's exactly the same weather, palm trees, outdoor restaurants, stores selling flip flops and sunscreen. But starting tomorrow we will be in the middle of primary forest listening to the calls of howler monkeys! (Maybe i'll be able to give you some tips when i get back kt!)
I'm very psyched, but you'll have to wait a while until we get back into civilization to get an update!! (the 17th for those keeping track...) I'm upset that i'll be out of the loop during the ecuadorian presedential election on the 15th... if you can't wait to find out who will be featured in the upcoming runoff you can check out the el comercio.


  1. dude we finally checked our mail and got your postcard from CUENCA! we are so far behind. i bet we get your bolivia postcard in like december...

  2. also i just saw elsa and fred, a really cute argentinian/spanish movie about 2 viejos who fall in love... definitely see it!

  3. Apologies for not writing on your blog for ages. I'm a student again and since procrastinating is my life at the moment, you'll have a job to get rid of me mwah ha ha mwah ha ha ha!

    You're travels sound cool. How are you enjoying Bolivia's Oh So Reliable transport system??? Enjoy the bus ride down to Uyuni if you go there! I feel the need to recreate the laughing sounds I did earlier but I'm sure you get what I mean!

  4. Why I've written 'you're' like that I have no clue.

  5. j - yeah some english teacher you are! when i took my free spanish lessons with elias he taught me the proverb "en casa del herrero, cuchillo de palo." (in the blacksmiths house, a wooden knife) which is applicable when someone doesn't use their profession in their personal life. so i think of that whenever i make an english grammar error. um, yeah thats my story.