Behind the cemetary, ooh arrrr missus
Trip Start Jul 07, 2008
270Trip End May 27, 2010
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Behind a cemetary, 70 miles from Potosi
howling a gale and raining profusely
We said our goodbyes to all the lovely people we met in Sucre by going to a charity bingo evening. Afke has been working for nante, an organisation that helps kids who work on the streets. So Friday night we met up with Jamie and olivia, Myles and Cat, ben & Gillian, Erica and Afka and played bingo for the star prize of a television. luckily we didn't win.
our Spanish lessons lasted 2 weeks, dave was with Jorge and I was with Jobhanna. Because dave has been studying from books for the past 18 months he has learned a lot of grammar and the correct way. I, on the other hand, have learned a bit piece meal and the incorrect way. That has now been rectified and I'm on the path to speaking Spanish properly. We both know now what we have to do to improve our Spanish. The sheer lack of vocabulary is a handicap so there's no way around that, we just have to learn it. you can't have too many verbs, is what they say, so that's also on the list of things to learn. The one other thing that will improve our Spanish tremendously is to speak it as often as we can, which as you might appreciate, without the vocabulary it's not easy. Still, we are trying and it seems that people understand us even if we don't understand them every time.
The ride from Sucre has been an exhausting one. Apart from the fact we haven't cycled for almost 3 weeks it has been stinking hot, and, we're now back at over 3600 metres, we think. The road has a good surface though, which we should thank our lucky stars for in Bolivia, so good in fact they've just had a big cycle race on it. The road is up and down for about 50 kms but we felt as though we had dropped more than we had gained.
Sucre is at 2800 and Potosi 4100, so we would have rather been climbing than losing altitude, and then it started. The climb lasted 25 kms, but it was steep and we both felt exhausted. We stopped frequently and even had a nap around 1pm when the sun was at it's zenith. The other slight problem was that we were very quickly running out of water. We had filled up the bottles around the 50 km mark (there was a small pension there but we decided to go on) but it was so hot we were going through it really quickly. We stopped off at one little finca (mud hut actually) and asked a young man if he could let us have some water, 'si' he said and pointed to my left. I wandered over to where he had pointed, looking for a tap or a pump, but all I could find was a manky looking pool of greenish water, worse than any pond I've seen in the UK. 'Gracias' I said, but no thanks, under my breath.
Several more kms we came across an elderly couple sitting outside their hut and they were happy to let us have some water. Mama came back with a bucket of water, we have no idea where she got it from, it was probably collected rain water, but at that point we didn't much care. We chatted for a few minutes, thanked them for their hospitality, and cycled on.
This particular part of Bolivia is very dry and water is a precious commodity, we were very grateful they had shared their water with us.
despite the dryness of the landscape this is the start of the rainy season, although luckily for us showers tend to build up during the day and we get the rain later on, or sometimes, just a lightening show. The rain clouds began to gather and there was a lot of thunder and lightening so we decided now was the time to find somewhere to pitch the tent. The terrain was rather flat at this point, with hills in the background, so anywhere we chose would be visible. Even though we feel perfectly safe in Bolivia, we still like to tuck ourselves away from prying eyes, that's when I spotted the cemetary surrounded by a wall on all sides, with a small building at the rear, a perfect spot to camp, the wall and the building providing us with a little corner to tuck ourselves into. We had just pitched the tent and sorted everything out when the first spots of rain hit, we dived into the tent and that's where we stayed till the next day. The wind howled pushing and pulling the tent every which way, and the rain was so loud we couldn't hear each other speak. The thunder and lightening circled us for about 2 hours and then eventually died away. Mother nature was letting off steam.
As we left our little camping spot the next morning one of the first things we saw was a car, full of people, and a live sheep tied to the roof rack. Unfortunately they were moving at speed otherwise that would have been a great photo.