Cats and birds.  Both bigger in Africa.
Cats and birds. Both bigger in Africa.
You definitely don't want to fall on these.
You definitely don't want to fall on these.
Farm machinery is very uncommon in Bolivia.
Farm machinery is very uncommon in Bolivia.

Leaving the thin air in Potosí was a welcome change.  The bus ride to Sucre was an easy three hour affair that took us through some scenic Bolivian countryside.  Since we started our trip in the mostly desert-like southwest, this was the first glipse we had at Bolivian agriculture.  The small fields of wheat and corn were familiar sights but what was amazing was the lack of farm machinery.  I can’t recall any other time that I have seen people out harvesting wheat by hand.  Bolivia may be a poor country but the land is fertile and the people certainly work hard.

Visiting the town’s market was good fun.  Fruit juices are very popular in Sucre and the market’s selection did not disappoint.  The market also had lots of old ladies selling every type of potato you can imagine and then some.  Did you know that there are literally hundreds of types of potatoes in Bolivia and Peru?

Japanese buses!  This one was from Shinjo - near Sendai.
Japanese buses! This one was from Shinjo – near Sendai.

The narrow streets of Sucre and clogged with small buses, many of which are surplus from Japan.  Most of them still have the original paintjob complete with Japanese lettering, phone numbers, etc.  What I haven’t been able to figure out is how they convert them from left-hand drive to right-hand drive while still maintaining the original paint scheme.

Sucre, Bolivia
Sucre, Bolivia

Amy had her turn with food poisoning one of the days we were in Sucre.  That was the day we had planned to go to Tarabuco, a small village about an hour away, to see the once-weekly market.  I headed out there on my own and decided to use the local transport (shared vans) instead of the tourist bus.  It was a cheap ride but the legroom was painfully limited!  On the way home I talked my way onto a tourist bus for the price of shared van.  Go me.

The market was quite touristy but it was still fun to have a look around.  I ran into our Dutch friends (from the salt flat tour) in Tarabuco and we grabbed some lunch.  My soup had a nice surprise!

Why hello there Mr. Chicken.
Why hello there Mr. Chicken.
Sucre, Bolivia
Farm machinery is very uncommon in Bolivia.
Farm machinery is very uncommon in Bolivia.
The courtyard at our guesthouse in Sucre.
The courtyard at our guesthouse in Sucre.
Bolivia's shield is carried by the mighty condor!
Bolivia’s shield is carried by the mighty condor!
Plenty of fruit juice vendors to choose from!
Plenty of fruit juice vendors to choose from!
Japanese buses!  This one was from Shinjo - near Sendai.
Japanese buses! This one was from Shinjo – near Sendai.
Sucre, Bolivia
Sucre, Bolivia
Generous legroom on the one-hour ride to Tarabuco
Generous legroom on the one-hour ride to Tarabuco
Coca leaf vendor
Coca leaf vendor
A statue of an indigenous person tearing the heart out of a Spaniard.
A statue of an indigenous person tearing the heart out of a Spaniard.
Traffic in Tarabuco
Traffic in Tarabuco
Why hello there Mr. Chicken.
Why hello there Mr. Chicken.
Foosball in the street, a common sight in Bolivia
Foosball in the street, a common sight in Bolivia
Some traditional snacks at Salón de Té: Las Delicias
Some traditional snacks at Salón de Té: Las Delicias

Apr 092011

We woke up way too early to catch an 8 o’clock bus to El Bolsón.  The small hippy town is a couple hours south of Bariloche and is known for its thrice-weekly market.  We had to take a taxi to the bus station because we couldn’t find a collectivo going the right direction.  There were plenty going in the opposite direction, much to my annoyance.

We had seats right up front which allowed us to enjoy the 20 or so feet of visibility thanks to a thick morning fog.  The driver seemed to have things well under control though and we arrived safely right on schedule at 10AM.  The market was supposed to start at 10AM but since this is a hippy town and an Argentine town, the schedule was a bit more flexible.

Amy had a vegetarian (calabaza) milanesa sandwich from the vegetarian sandwich stand.
Amy had a vegetarian (calabaza) milanesa sandwich from the vegetarian sandwich stand.

After a bit of coffee and tea (and wifi stealing) at a nearby bakery we ventured out to check out the offerings.  In particular,  Amy was on the hunt for vegetarian goodies.  She was a bit disappointed to find only one stand selling vegetarian food.  Nevertheless, she turned up a nice calabaza (butternut squash) milanesa sandwich on whole wheat bread.  I went with the more typical and popular fair food: papas fritas and empanadas.

After walking the market a few times to admire the goods, we decided to hike up Cerro Amigo to enjoy the mirador.  It was an easy 45 minute hike and we passed some very nice mountain homes properly outfitted with horses grazing nearby.  The view from the top allowed us to see the entire city and the mountains across the valley.

El Bolsón, Argentina
What to do with a dead tree? In a hippie town, you carve it into a awesome sculpture!
What to do with a dead tree? In a hippie town, you carve it into a awesome sculpture!
Weird hippy contraption/art
Weird hippy contraption/art
Scenes of Patagonia captured on sugar packets.
Scenes of Patagonia captured on sugar packets.
Very large milanesa sandwiches seemed to be the most popular food item at the market.
Very large milanesa sandwiches seemed to be the most popular food item at the market.
Amy had a vegetarian (calabaza) milanesa sandwich from the vegetarian sandwich stand.
Amy had a vegetarian (calabaza) milanesa sandwich from the vegetarian sandwich stand.
We saw walnuts on trees all over town.
We saw walnuts on trees all over town.
Wood bowl carving
Wood bowl carving
It is fall in El Bolsón
It is fall in El Bolsón
Amy's dream house along the walk to a mirador.
Amy’s dream house along the walk to a mirador.
A jeep with Alberta plates!  Turns out that the guy has a website: www.theroadchoseme.com
A jeep with Alberta plates! Turns out that the guy has a website: www.theroadchoseme.com

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