2nd October 2015 by emmadurnford

2nd October 2015

We had a flight to Sucre in Bolivia in the afternoon but before that we decided to brave a last wander around town. As I have been supporting the local economy in Peru and Bolivia (read that as shopping) I was concerned about the weight and space in my suitcase. We decided to package up everything we had bought (so far) along with our Peru books and guides that we do not need anymore and send them home to Colin’s daughter. This required quite a bit of organisation - we had to buy a special box and then after I carefully packed it and we had walked to the main post office, the woman then emptied it all again to check we were not exporting anything illegal! I had to get a photocopy of Colin’s passport and then complete a form (all in Spanish) before we could finally send our parcel. it looks very official - I just hope we get to see the contents again in the future!

Then it was back to our hotel to collect our luggage and to meet our next pick up to the airport with Eduardo. I have been tipping staff as we go as they have helped us with luggage or arrangements on the ground but the costs of living in Bolivia are very low so even though I only tip the equivalent of a few pounds, the recipients seem very pleased. I just cannot pay someone less than a pound. I find it difficult to get this sort of thing right so I’d rather overtip and make someones day than not pay enough. The security guard for the hotel seemed very happy and was pretending to drive our taxi when the driver got out so he was obviously quite pleased!

La Paz airport is quite small and most of the work is done by hand rather than automated. We had to pay a little extra as our international luggage allowance is a few kilos more than internal flights - imagine my pleasure when we had to pay under £10 for an excess of 8 kilos! The flight was good and all our worries about hand luggage came to nothing as locals squeezed on massive bits of luggage with no problem.

Our guide and driver for the next 7 days or so met us at Sucre airport when we landed. Despite him introducing himself, I still have no idea what his name is so I think I’ll have to ask him to write it down. As with our previous guides, his English is very good and it is so interesting to hear his views on the political situation in the country. What a change from when we arrived in La Paz. The city is very attractive with a big tree filled square surrounded with colonial buildings. We managed to have a quick explore in the evening and do our weekly chore of finding a launderette - 3 kilos for the equivalent of under £2! the town has a totally different feel, much safer and quite buzzy as it is a university town so there are a lot of students. There was something official going on around the main square that involved the army and a band and what appeared to be Miss World or at least Miss Bolivia entries - I have absolutely no idea what it was all about.

Finally our hotel - oh wow. It is a parador and beautiful colonial mansion with at least 3 courtyards and painted pillars. We have a massive room and bathroom which makes a change. There is a roof terrace where I photographed this view from... just after sunset as I got the time wrong! Clouds were gathering then which explains the fact that as I write there is a massive thunderstorm and earlier it knocked out the electricity all together.
What a wonderful view and capture of it Emma, fav for me! I'm so greatly enjoying what you write too. The city you are in now sounds wonderful, especially you hotel accommodation. It's nice that you are tipping well and spreading some happiness with that!
October 4th, 2015  
@tristansmum Hi there, sorry about the very intermittent replies. I really enjoyed Bolivia although it has a lot of political problems - I need to have a proper read all about them. We're in Chile now which is a contrast but seems to be very officious and obsessed with paperwork - more so than any other country we have visited. The local police - Carabineros - do not actually have much power and so seem to have an inferiority complex and so as they carry guns, do tend to swagger around demanding to see bits of paper!!
October 10th, 2015  
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