Upwards to Tarija

Trip Start May 27, 2008
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Trip End May 18, 2009


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Where I stayed
Residencial Espana

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Saturday, August 16, 2008

Well, the bus trip was different! After Argentina, and even Paraguay, nothing to compare it to.  Half the time it seemed like the wheels were off on the dropoff side of the Andes!  And passing on curves, hills, and curvy hills is standard!   But the scenery was beautiful, if you could stomach the sight!  Well, I mean, to stomach the 2 mile drop about 1 inch from the edge of the bus!  From the gravel road-they need a designation on the maps: goat trail!  Because that is what we were on.

I stayed in Tarija for quite awhile, trying to put some $ back, and studying Spanish, because here, there was not really a word of English spoken.  Alot of Quechua is spoken, among other languages.   

I had a head dripping and cough almost the whole time I was there.  It was very chilly at night (no heat, of course) and hot water showers were at a premium.  I had bargained with the owner of the Residencial, and got a pretty good rate for 2 weeks at a time, and cash upfront.  A little less than 5$ a night.  I had bought a heating element for my coffee cup (I often had thoughts about a ROOM heating element), so I was able to cook up some coffee every morning.  And the food from the vendors was so cheap, that there was no need to cook, unless I just couldn't look at another potato or rice again!  or chicken, for that matter.  But, I had my favorite empanada vendor and another gal that made my carrot drink (about $.30 a glass), so I was happy with the food situation.  Yes, I had my pizza vendor (I would buy just 1 piece), my sandwich vendor, and my peanuts vendor.  They all knew me after a while.

While I was there several events happened.  The first was the protest against Morales (which had started in Sta Cruz while I was there) and the second was the San Roques Festival.  The protest shut the whole town down for about a week and a half; the bus and planes were shut down, all businesses, etc.  Besides, there were very loud explosives going off during the night, every night.  Someone said it was TNT blasted off by the miners.  Well, it could have been, it was that loud.  I was caught in some teargas during a demonstration, but it wasn't bad; I quickly got out of there.  But now, I have that on my excitement list!

The San Roque Festival played right thru the whole mess; these Chunchos (guys, yes, no women at all), about 2500 in number, would form up at the church every day about 10AM in two lines, and would march thru the streets.  Marching with them would be the men playing the flutes and banging on the drums and some gathered together play the Las Canas, very, very long tube with a horn on the end.   The end of the procession would have men carrying the Virgin.  It is a sight to behold! 

Well, I took a run down to BsAs to pick up my computer, since I needed my Spanish lessons, Destinos, to study with.  It was quite a trip down thru the border xing I had chosen, unbeknownst to me.  I  want to show you the border crossing at Bermejo, so you can be forewarned.  The trip down from the river to BsAs was about 30 hrs on the bus.  When I planned this little outing, I didn't check on that! 

Onward and upward. 
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