Sunday, March 29, 2009

An even quieter day

Woke up at the unearthly hour of 8:30am on a Sunday. I blame the altitude - when you even half-wake short of breath, you tend to wake up fully pretty quickly. Plus, the door to my dorm creaked like something from a Hammer horror movie whenever people went in or out, and everyone heading out on the mine tours tended to be up and moving by about 8. I made the surprising discovery that the hostel actually did breakfast, and then the less-surprising one that this consisted of bread and jam. And tea or coffee, but I don't really drink either of them, a fact which seemed to unnerve the ladies serving from the kitchen.

After a quick burst of internet during which I sorted out my hostel for La Paz and my flight from there to Rurrenabaque, the jungle town from which I am planning to visit the Madidi National Park, part of the Bolivian section of the Amazon basin, I went off to explore around town and see some of the remainder of the town's colonial architecture - although Potosí became a virtual ghost town by the start of the 20th Century, a fair amount of it has survived in one form or the other, although often in a different use from that for which it was originall built. After working up an appetite (and a slight shortness of breath) looking around the old town, I had the almuerzo, the set lunch at one of the restuarants in the town centre, which got me a massive bowl of soup with some bread, pique lo macho (beef and sausages, on chips, onions and peppers, in a spicy sauce) that was hot enough for me to really notice it, and then a little cup of lemon-flavoured ice, with a drink, for the sum of around 3 pounds. If you haven't got the point yet, Bolivia is very pleasantly cheap!

In the afternoon, I wrote up a bit more of my journal, then headed back to the hostel, where I bunked down with a book for a little while (thanks to the hostel's book exchange, I was comfortably stocked with reading material again) until I eventually got chatting with a new occupant of the dorm, a Norwegian lass from right up above the Arctic circle in Kirkenes called Stine. After getting all kinds of hints from her about where to go in Sucre, that being both my next stop and where she had spent the last 3 months as an exchange student, and passing on some about Uyuni and down into Argentina, we ended up joining up with Julien, a French guy from the dorm, and heading out for some food. After a bit of a wild goose chase, caused partly by it being Sunday night and mainly places being closed, and partly by both Stine and I forgetting our guidebooks, we ended up back at the Torre de Pizza, where I had a fairly underwhelming lemon chicken but the others both seemed to enjoy their pizzas. After finishing our accompanying drinks, we decided that an early night wouldn't be such a bad thing (Stine wasn't actually drinking, as she was still recovering somewhat from her leaving party from Sucre the previous night!) and headed back to the hostel.