Saturday, May 5, 2012

Welcome to Sucre

I'm now sitting pretty about 1000 meters lower, still 2750 meters above sea level aka 9,000 feet, in beautiful Sucre, Bolivia– my home for the next two months! The bus ride here was actually enjoyable– I didn't realize this when I bought my ticket but it was a doubledecker sleeper bus, and I was sitting (lying) in the front row of the second level. I had the best view on the whole bus since the second level also has a windshield. It was basically a panoramic view.

La Paz. In the background Mt. Illimani, 6402m
The only cool thing I did in La Paz was walk around until my legs and lungs actually hated me and refused to work anymore. I tried to go to a free admission ethnography museum but it was closed. So I opted to go sit in another cafe and read for a couple hours. This turned out to be the best call ever because there was a riot happening right outside the cafe. There were probably about 100 policemen with their shields up, defending themselves from a smaller group of civilians. They were throwing red paint at the police. It was pretty crazy that I could just be sitting in my cafe sipping on my Coca Cola with a constant stream of pedestrians walking by the riot not even doing a double take. I guess this is a pretty common occurrence. I later found out the the rioters were doctors and medical students protesting a two hour work increase. In the past, the maximum hours doctors worked in a public practice was six hours, meaning that they could spend six hours working in their own private practice therefore earning enough money. The government just increased their working hours in the public practice to eight. This means they no longer will be able to work in a private practice and therefore won't earn enough money.
The white building to the right of the tree has red paint splatters
from the protestors. I took this photo right from my seat in my
cafe. It is hard to see all the policemen, but they are there!

Right now, I am staying in a hostel called Wasi Masi in the dormitory– so my room costs about $5 a night. This is actually such a nice place– I am so glad I am staying here! I only have two nights booked because I am hoping tomorrow I will move into an apartment or a room in a house.
I found this nice park yesterday. I sat and read and worked on
my Spanish. Lots of people came up to me trying to sell things,
but instead of being annoyed I liked it because it meant I got to
speak Spanish.
Something that will cost less and I can have a little more privacy, and a space to call my own. So finding a new place to live, that is on my list of things to do today. Along with that is finding a gym and a Spanish learning center (I am going to take lessons to take full advantage of living in a Spanish speaking country). Yesterday afternoon I went to BiblioWorks' main office and met with the coordinator, Matt, and one of the workers, Maritza. There were also two other volunteers there– and get this: one of them is from Cape Elizabeth, Maine. How many times do you meet a Mainer while abroad– let alone working for the same nonprofit!!?? I couldn't believe it!  I will start working on Monday, and the plan is that I will be based in the newest library, new as in it opened a week ago, teaching the kids about nutrition and starting a garden. How fitting since that is basically exactly what I did in the Philippines. I am so anxious to get started!

Every building in Sucre is white. Literally, every building!
I will blog more about Sucre tomorrow, I need to get started on my errands and hopefully in doing so I will be able to get some really great photos of this amazing city. Until then!

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