We recently attended the famous Lucha Libre at a sports facility in El Alto. Bolivians are wild for wrestling. Posters of famous American wrestlers are everywhere, and you can’t go a block in La Paz without seeing seeing it on a curbside television set. Bolivia doesn’t have a professional league on the same level as the USA’s WWE, but El Alto’s Sunday afternoon Lucha Libre makes a solid substitute.
We’ve already written about the our visit to Tiwanaku for the Aymara New Year celebration. But we had so many pictures, we’ve had to split them up into two posts. Here’s our second set of images from this amazing festival… including the sunrise, and the events which followed. Keep your eye out for Evo Morales: this is the second time we’ve been able to see Bolivia’s president!
The pre-Incan ruins of Tiwanaku, just 35 miles west of La Paz, host Bolivia’s biggest celebrations in honor of the Aymara New Year. With a belief system rooted heavily in the natural world, the Aymara recognize the winter solstice (June 21st) as the true beginning of the year. We woke up early in the morning to take part in the fun.
During our three-day tour of the Salt Flats and southwestern Bolivia, our guide Faustino subjected us to a steady diet of traditional Bolivian music. The best album, and one he played on repeat almost continuously, was from a band called K’ala Marka.
After surviving the morning blizzard in the mountains, we emerged intact onto the dusty plains south of Uyuni. This was the last portion of a long, three-day journey which had offered some of the most incredible nature I’ve ever been exposed to. Salt flats, semi-active volcanoes, deserts, lagoons, and more. But there was still a bit more to be astounded by.
Also called the Isla del Pescado thanks to its fish-like profile, the island of Incahuasi is situated smack in the middle of the enormous Salar de Uyuni. We arrived there midway through the first day of our tour. Covered by millennial cacti and composed of coral, the island is a stunning reminder that the salt flats used to be part of a gigantic lake.
Most people don’t realize that Sucre is technically the capital of Bolivia. La Paz has become the country’s largest and most important city, but according to the Bolivian constitution, Sucre is still the official capital. And the Casa de la Libertad is the country’s most historically significant building.
Young kids hard at work is all too common a scene on Sucre’s streets. From shoeshiners to car washers, boys and girls are spending their childhood in Bolivia’s unofficial labor force. Just yesterday, I bought a newspaper, gum and a woven blanket from kids who couldn’t have been over ten.