Mark and Mika Take on the WORLD!!! travel blog

Mark gets walked by Scott, the crazy dog

Our daily road to Spanish school

Sucre's Eifel Tower

Sucre's Main Plaza

It's amazing how quickly our concept of time changes when we're traveling. We finally arrived safely in Sucre after spending 24 hours traveling and waiting, traveling and waiting. . .We started our journey by leaving the Bolivian rainforest at 8:00 AM to travel 4 hours by canoe downstream to Rurrenabaque where we were to catch a plane to La Paz at 1:30. To no surprise to us, the attendant for the airline notified us that our 12 passenger plane would be 30 minutes late. We waited, waited, waited. We finally heard the put-put-put of our plane's propellers coming in 4 hours later! Unfortunately for us, by the time we arrived in La Paz, we had already missed the last direct bus to Sucre. So, we ended up on a 10-hour night bus to the city of Potosi (3 hours past our wanted destination). We were already starving and tired, having not been able to eat all day. And the night bus to Potosi was FREEZING! Frost and ice condensed on the windows and the bus soon became a moving ice box. With nothing on but a thin fleece, we huddled together for warmth, hoping to catch some sleep, which never came. The bus finally arrived in Potosi at 5:30 in the morning, only we had yet to catch another bus at 7:30 in order to backtrack 3 hours ride to Sucre. After traveing by canoe, plane, and 2 buses, we safely arrived in Sucre. This beautiful, colonial time will be our home for the next two weeks as we study Spanish.

Sucre is yet another great place to learn Spanish. Silvia and Milton, our host parents put us up in a very nice room, and a private bathroom with neverending supply of piping hot water! (Finally!) In South America, this is certainly a luxury! We've lost count of how many ice cold showers we've taken since our arrival. It really can't even be considered showering because it is more of a sort of hopping dance than anything else. Anyway, Milton is an engineer, his wife is a psychologist, and their two boys are students. We entertained ourselves every afternoon aftershool walking their 2-year old half-husky/half-samoyed dog, Scott. Everyday Scott happily eyed his leash and pleadingly glanced at us to take him out. We would have to trick him somehow just to get his leash on him, because as soon as he realized we were going to take him out for a walk, he went nuts and it was impossible to contain him! Scott, more or less, dislocated our sholders and walked us around this colonial city everyday. On our daily walks, we also discovered that Sucre is littered with Parisian landmarks! One of their presidents spent many holidays and business in Paris. He liked Paris so much that he had built all over Sucre, images of Paris. Sucre even has their own Eifel tower and Seine river! (The river was once stocked full of fish, but the locals began fishing so their Seine is now dry)

On another interesting side note about health...Mark seems to have lost 50% of his hearing in his right er. It started in the jungle, so we are guessing that he might have some sort of strange, multicolored beetle making its way towards his brain. This is definitely serious, but Mark thinks it does have an upside since he can only hear half of Mika's nagging. Parasites and an ear infection are even a bit too much for Mark, so he will probably see a doctor soon.

As for the people, there are so many homeless and starving people living in the streets. They are not so noticeable during the day because they are out and about like everyone else. But in the evening, they retrn to their corners to sleep or to beg. It was so hard to pass them on the street daily only to do nothing for them. Nothing we do could change their situation, so we simply pretended not to notice them, but that was proven to be extremely diffiult when they literally grab you and hold out their hands pleadingly. It's especially hard when its children running after us for upto 2 blocks begging for something, anything. One evening while we were finishing dinner at a Pizza Parlor, a homeless man came into the restaurant and stood at our tabe and begged for 10 minutes. He kept saying over and over, please I'm poor and I'm hngry. The waitress tried to get hi to leave, but he wouldn't. Since we had already finished the last of our pizza, we had nothing to give him except for a few pieces of chocolate that we had purchased earlier. He happily accepted the chocolates and finally left us alone. His face and his voice was haunting, so since then on, we've been giving away bread every now and then after we visit the bakeries. At least we can help put food in their stomachs. Even so, its hard not to feel guilty when they stare at us through the cafe windows while we are sipping our coffee during our break between Spanish classes.

Our Spanish has been progressing steadily, and we've both had some breakthroughs in our abilities to converse. We only speak to each other in Spanish now (although we often blend English words in the middle of the sentence when we don't have the knowledge in Spanish.) We were a bit ambitious when we went to see an evening play. We found out quickly how little Spanish we knew, despite our ease in conversing with each other. So the learning will continue in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where hopefully we can enroll in their intensive classes (that's another 2 hours on top of the 4 hours per day we are already taking). We get so anxious to be fluent, especially when we meet other gringos wo can speak so well. But first, we are headed to Potosi, the highest city in the world in hopes of taking a tour of their famous Silver mines. It is guaranteed to be a mind-blowing experience.

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