Today was a day of blessings. It started early. We had a full morning planned: going to the bank to change dollars to bolivianos… then going to the photo store to check on the cost of scanning film to a PhotoCD… then going to the plaza and visiting a museum.
Tuesday was “Eat For Free Day” for me. For breakfast, I ate again with Arnold and Greta Wry, who have basically told me that any time I want to eat breakfast with them is fine. Then for lunch, Yoli and I were supposed to eat with Glennie and Marilyn Wry, but Marilyn was sick, so someone else cooked. And for dinner, Yoli took me to see her friend Gina and her husband for dinner.
But much more happened throughout the day.
Sunday was by far the most beautiful day I’ve had since I’ve been here.
It started with a shower — a rain shower, mind you. Well, perhaps it would be better described as a torrent. As I sleep with my windows open (to let cool air in), it woke me up around 5 am. It wasn’t the rain the woke me up, really. It was the roar of a cascading waterfall. The rain was coming so hard that the gutter over the roof perpendicular to my building had temporarily failed, and all the water was flowing off of it, down into a brick-border garden below. I was hopeful that the rain would last a while and bring a cool day with it, but then I remembered that this was the day we were going to Samaipata, and we needed good conditions to get there.
After having found out that we would have to stay in Oruro an extra day before moving on, we decided to check out some local attractions. The first place we went was the mirador at the top of the Faro, a sort of lighthouse or beacon set on top of a huge rock near one of the edges of town. From there we had a spectacular view of Oruro. The city begins against several yellow-brown mountains, and then spreads across the plain below them. It was a long walk to get there, but from that high place we spotted some interesting buildings far off that we later walked past.
We awoke early this morning feeling much better than yesterday. We both slept fairly well, though the beds are a bit….bowed, I guess. My neck was still a bit sore from the plane ride, too.
We changed our plans for Friday because we heard about a transportation strike scheduled for Monday, the day we originally intended to leave La Paz. Travel will probably be impossible that day, so we realized we would have to leave for Oruro on Sunday night instead of Monday. That forced us to push up our excursions to the ruins of Tiwanaku and Lake Titicaca. On tap for today was Tiwanaku.
On Saturday morning we hoped to have clear skies so we could get a good photo of La Paz with Illimani in the background. But the clouds foiled us again.
So we took a bus to Calle Jaen, a quiet historic street in La Paz, which is home to four municipal museums. We wanted to see these museums before we left later in the afternoon for Copacabana, where we would see Lake Titicaca.
Today was museum day in Sucre. We saw some interesting things. But before we get to that, let me tell you about something else we saw: an unsuspecting young woman (presumably a tourist) was pelted in the head with a water balloon as she walked with some friends in the plaza downtown. One thing we’ve learned is that around here you need to walk around with your eyes open, or if you’re on a bus, keep the windows closed. Kids walk the streets with water balloons they throw as a prelude to Carnaval. But the guy today was no kid… he was probably college age or even older. Last night, a boy threatened to throw a balloon at us if we didn’t pay him 50 centavos. We pretended we didn’t understand Spanish (It was probably harder for Yoli to get away with that). This morning, on our way to our first museum, we saw a pack of kids roaming around outside a church/convent complex looking for targets.