Most of our first month in Bolivia was spent in the gorgeous capital of Sucre, so our opinion of the country may change. We’ve seen a lot of the altiplano, the high plains of the Andes which stretch along the country’s western extreme: Sucre, Potosí, Uyuni, La Paz. It’s hard to believe how quickly our time is passing by… it will be interesting to see how our perception of the country changes in the next couple months.
Mike: The flat, snow-white landscape of the Salar de Uyuni is something that will never leave my memories.
Jürgen: Seeing La Paz for the first time, when coming from Uyuni via night bus. An ocean of lights!
Mike: Chicharrón! I just recently tried this plate of tender pork, fat, skin, bone, potatoes, and chicha at a great restaurant in Mallasa, just south of La Paz. Cochabamba is supposed to be capital of the chicharrón, though… and a city we’ll be visiting soon.
Jürgen: K’alaphurka – This hit the spot after a couple of exhausting days in Potosí
Mike: You hear so much about Bolivia’s poverty and how it’s a third-would country, but I was surprised to see that even the poorest sections of society lead relatively comfortable lives. I’d much rather be a poor person in Bolivia than in Buenos Aires or even New York City.
Jürgen: The clash of cultures. Favorite: the Cholitas in a bustling, modern city like La Paz
Mike: After getting here, I did a lot of reading on the US-Bolivian relationship, and I have to say: I was bitterly disappointed in the way my country has treated this one.
Jürgen: That a lot of travelers just come to Bolivia to see the salt flats and to do a Mine Tour in Potosi and then they disappear again. Bolivia has so much more to offer.
Funniest / Weirdest
Mike: Who knew Bolivians love wrestling so much? Many shops have a TV outside broadcasting toward the sidewalk, and if they’re showing WWE Wrestling (and they frequently are), there will be a huge group of people watching it, totally absorbed.
Jürgen: Flirting with one of the ladies at the market in Sucre. She asked if I was single, I said “yes”, and then spun around and smashed my face into a low ceiling cement bar. Bruised my nose and forehead. Not funny for me, but she had a great laugh. Bolivia is not made for tall people
How Expensive? From 1 (cheap) to 10 (expensive)
Mike: 1. Most intoxicatingly inexpensive place I’ve ever been. It’s going to be hard to return to Europe.
Jürgen: 2. Living costs are cheap but tours can be fairly expensive
People from Bolivia are…
Mike: … proud of their country, and although understandably cautious of foreigners, incredibly friendly and helpful.
Jürgen: … laughing at me on a daily base because I’m so tall. I guess I take it as a compliment
Bolivia in Three Words
Mike: Wild, Misunderstood, Surprising
Jürgen: Scenic, Fascinating, Promising