Sucre

2 Aug

roosters crow. they crow from about 6 in the morning and on through out the day.  there’s a farm of sorts next to my apartment, a patch of dirt inbetween new construction that seems to have been inhabitated by a small indigenous family.  cats, sheep, dogs, and chickens all share the land.

occasinoally there are cock fights as the owners groom their roosters into fighting pose.  its not uncommon to see “el dueno” walking about with bloodied still roosters, delicatly cleaning off their feathers and laying them to rest with something of a regretful touch.

but as anyone can tell you, i can sleep through far more than a rooster’s cry.  and with 6000 watt speakers,  my apartment provides a world apart from sucre, from bolivia, and from the farm.

a jacuzzi, a jabba-the-hut sized bed, flat screen tv, and marble top bar, as well as sleak black leather furniture and a private roof top terrace make my apartment an anomoloy to be had in the continent’s poorest country – but its a luxury ive been enjoying to the fullest.

the walk to the center is through carefully constructed cobbled stone streets,  placed together like tiles on a soccer ball.  the streets twist and yearn their way through hills of tiring angles.  the city is about 3000 meters above see level and surrounded by mountains.  its a place where the beer frizzes and foams and the sun gets freakishly hot, only to leave you shivering cold at night.  the views are breathtaking.

sometimes they’re heart breaking too.  the central plaza is beautiful, with grand spanish built colonial architecture, live music, fountains, and a loads of young people milling about all day.  but then there also the old women of indigenous dress, no spanish to speak off, just quechua, that roam around with outsretched hands, looking into your soul with dark piercing eyes, daring you not to at least give them a coin. displaced by the system, by very american policies of old, these women have nothing, and its a wrenching fight with the heart everytime one comes near.

spanish has only recently become the dominant language in bolivia – and most people are bilingual and speak in one of three main indigienous languages as well.  and while the great majority of city populations strive to excel in our western ways, indigineous culture is abound as well.

with larger cheek bones, rounded noses, and braided hair, indigineous women can be seen lugging around everything imaginable, including small children in colorful quilts hung over their backs.  large fanned out skirts, like accordians, and shoes , never sneakers, and warm sweaters to protect them from the rigid weather, make up their uniforms. the men on the other hand, aside from small brimmed hats and dark pants (as opposed to jeans), have seemed to have blended in with western culture faster.  and their kids, with second hand clothing from the states (i might have even spotted a stuy sweatshirt once) seem eager as ever to join the ranks of the west as well.

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