November 13, 2005
I wanted to stay one more day in Sucre, and the Sunday market seemed like the thing to do. Every Sunday, the entire town of Tarabuco, which is normally about an hour away by bus, turns itself into a massive farmers' market. This morning, I hopped onto a bus to go there, figuring I'd spend most of the day in town.
When we were about halfway there, the bus driver stopped suddenly. He immediately ran out to investigate something. It turned out that we had a flat tire. I had heard stories about the famous flat tires of Bolivia, but this was my first time experiencing one. I guess I had been lucky to that point because flat tires apparently happen all the time here. The driver and his assistant removed the bad tire and replaced it with one that, to my untrained eye, looked even worse. I didn't want to question the driver's knowledge on the subject, though. We drove the rest of the way on our "spare."
The market in Tarabuco seemed interesting until I realized that is was the same thing I had seen in La Paz. Once again, the farmers from the area all scrambled to town trying to sell whatever crops they could. I'm not much of a shopper, so I got bored rather quickly.
When I was walking around, I bumped into several people I had hung out with last week in La Paz. We ate lunch together and walked toward the buses. I found out that they had actually paid for a tour to the market, so they were on a private bus with all tourists. I wasn't sure when the next public bus would leave for Sucre, so I asked the tourist bus driver if he had room for one more, he said "Sure," and we were on our way back.
I sat next to the driver in the front seat, and he immediately began bragging about how fast he could get us back to Sucre. I wasn't sure how serious he was until he slammed on the accelerator. We started catching up to another bus that had started out way ahead of us. After we flew around a corner and a bunch of luggage got thrown into the isle, several people on the bus started yelling at the driver. This only encouraged him more. He went even faster around the next corner, and the bus began to hit the gravel on the left side of the road. We were inches away from sliding off. Everyone on the bus really started freaking out at that point, and the driver finally backed off. It's kind of a shame, too, because we were about to pass the bus in front of us.
When we safely made it to Sucre, the driver stopped for a few minutes at the mirador, a lookout point to the city. He actually had the balls to ask for tips from the passengers, but nobody would give him any. I hadn't paid anything for the ride, so I gave him the last 4 bolivianos I had in pocket change. It cost me 7 bolivianos to get to Tarabuco, so it was actually a good deal for me. We looked at the city from above for a few minutes and continued to the central part of town.
I met a few people for a drink tonight. There wasn't much going on in town because it was Sunday. Tomorrow, I'm going to head to Potosí with Henry, from Peru, who has been traveling in generally the same direction as me since Copacabana.
The photo album for this entry is here.